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Ned Hood's Saturday Night 50th Reunion Toast to the Class of 1965 - June 13, 2015

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I’ve heard it said that, inside of every senior citizen - and yes, we do qualify now as senior citizens – inside of every senior citizen there’s a young person looking around and wondering “What the hell happened?”

Well, a lot has happened in the last fifty years.  Even though we as a group have spread out across the country, and even to other parts of the world, we share a great deal of common experiences and memories, many of which need only a word or phrase to be instantly recalled. 

The defining moment of our high school years was, of course, November 22, 1963, Dallas Texas, John F. Kennedy.  But there were other things that we experienced then.

We listened as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. shared his dream with the nation, a dream that we are still struggling to fulfill.  

We watched in awe as John Glenn was launched into orbit around the earth.

And from that new, hand-held marvel of modern technology, the transistor radio, we heard “She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah.” 

And then, on Wednesday, June 9th, 1965, we each walked across the stage at The Mosque, and received our diplomas from a smiling Mr. William W. Brock.  I’ve often thought that he was smiling because he knew that he’d no longer have to deal with some of us!

After graduation, there was beach week, and summer vacation, and then, depending on our personal choices, there was college, or that first real job, or for some of us, service in the armed forces.  Most of us eventually married, and most of us that did have raised families; soon, some of us may even become great-grandparents!

We have lived through war and peace, political and social upheaval, prosperity and recession, and an ongoing technology revolution that we occasionally have to get our grandchildren to explain to us.  We’ve come a long way since those transistor radios.

Through the years, each of us has experienced, in one way or another, success and failure, laughter and tears, love and heartache.  But through it all, we have endured; we have lived life with all of its ups and downs, and we’re still going strong.  And that is due in no small part to the exceptional foundation of academics, values, and ideals that each of us learned while we were part of what was recognized at the time as the very best high school in the state of Virginia, and one of the best in the entire nation.

And so, a toast... 

To Thomas Jefferson High School; to its heritage, its history, and its future; to the educators and administrators who gave to us the guidance, skills, and knowledge that have served us so well; to the laughter we often shared and the tears we sometimes shed; to the friends we made, and the friends we’ve lost; but most of all, to the class of 1965... may we continue to be blessed with learning, laughing, and loving, for many years to come.
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