Launching into the 40th year of the English Speaking Union Sandhills branch we should feel a tinge of excitement as we celebrate this remarkable
It is one thing for an organization to start, it is another for it to thrive. And as we move forward with new ideas, new members and a continuously renewed dedication to our Shakespeare Competition and the vital and always exciting Middle School Debate-we are anything but joining the "over the hill gang".
Our subgroups of Churchillians, Rooseveltians and International Affairs add to the diversity of thought and, dare I say study, that ESU is fostering for those of us who have the luxury of time to read and discuss things together.
And then there is the great bounty of hearing accomplished people share their thoughts and ideas, observations and life lessons.
We at ESU do not hew to one line of thinking, we are open to hearing men and women who can inform us. We welcome thoughts of all kinds and draw our own conclusions. We are life-long learners.
For forty years speakers have come to share with us. The list is long and impressive, starting with Charles Collingwood a great CBS commentator and journalist.
William E. Colby, former Directer of the CIA, Tasheen M. Basheer speaking as a career diplomat on the Middle East, Emyle Jenkins who lead us through English and American Silver and that rich heritage- to name but a few.
Lynne Olsen with her first big break - the book Citizens of London opened my eyes to new views of WWII and continues to enlighten us all with her deep research and beautiful prose-who would have thought we would hear
her in little ol' Pinehurst?
Because of ESU I have dined with Thomas Jefferson and had my hand kissed by the Marquis de Lafayette - who could have imagined that?
Forty years of any organization is stellar because it shows that we have struggled with all the growing pains of a new organization and won. We have gone from being almost the only game in town to being one of many, many choices people have for intellectual and creative outlets in our tri town area.
I think we stand tall in a crowded field because we offer not only exciting speakers but we have a great purpose within the community. By supporting and working with the Middle School Debates and by sponsoring the Shakespeare Competition and Student Recognition of Excellence we reach well beyond ourselves and into the most important area there is: our children and their future.
We are not a dining club, we are not just a lecture series, we are people who wish to make a difference. We support open thought, learning and creating a space for excellence.
Forty, a great year, one that promises that we can go on keeping our eyes on our core mission "to use English as a catalyst to foster global understanding and good will by providing educational and cultural opportunities for student,
educators and members".
We are forty, we are strong and we are still looking toward the horizon. ESU is vibrant, exciting and a creative organization. We have passed the test of time.
So let us raise a glass to our ESU branch and to all of us as members. We have joined as one to enrich both our lives and the lives of others. Here's to our Sandhills ESU! Happy fortieth!