As “Pomp & Circumstance” filtered through the air, the seniors filed in and took their places together for the last time.
What exactly is “Pomp & Circumstance?” It is a Triumphal march to a processional tune composed by Sir Edward Elgar on 19 October 1901. Elgar took the phrase "pomp and circumstance" from Shakespeare's "Othello. In Act III, Scene III, the title character refers to the "pride, pomp and circumstance
Farewell the neighing steed and the shrill trump,
The spirit-stirring drum, th'ear-piercing fife,
The royal banner, and all quality,
Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war!
In the United States, the Trio section "Land of Hope and Glory" of March No. 1 is often known as "Pomp and Circumstance" or as "The Graduation March" and is played at virtually all high school and some college graduation ceremonies.
Researching the origins of this traditional exercise, I listened to the tune and even after all these years, I can still feel the swell of pride I felt when I marched through that gymnasium with 268 other graduates. Row-by-row we shuffled to our seats to the strains of “Pomp & Circumstance.” I took my place in not quite the last row, to sit through countless boring speeches, accolades, and words of encouragement from the principal, teachers and students. Then the roll-call began. Because my last name became with “S” I had a long wait before I received my hard-earned diploma. Meanwhile, I joked with those fellow students who sat next to me, however, it was the first time in four years that I had because I was not a popular gal. No matter. We talked, joked and enjoyed the time. What I remember most, other than getting the diploma, was when one of those popular guys asked me why didn’t we talked before. Why didn’t he get to know me better? I just smiled, and said “Oh well. Too bad, so sad.” No, I really didn’t say that. It just felt good that he felt sorry and I didn’t. I was on to bigger places. Then I received my diploma.
My husband, Keith, graduated high school the same year I did. His ceremony lasted much longer since there were 378 graduates in his class. I asked him what he remember. About the same thing I did then recalled when the ceremony was over how all the graduates swung their cap’s tassel from the left to the right signifying you graduated. You made it!
When the ceremonies were over, some went to their homes for a big family party and others went out to restaurants. I think much of the same things happen today. Gifts and cards were given to the graduate, ever so thankful when the gift was monetary. Cameras flashed, well-wishes given, food and drinks consumed, and more congratulations offered as everyone went home. Then the grad sat in their room and counted the cash and checks, checked out the gifts, and then it all finally hit home . . . No more school! At least for now or until, and if, the grad went onto college.
When I started to gather my things for the family museum, I was thrilled when I opened a box that had my high school yearbook, diploma (in bad shape because my father had saved it among his greasy tools) and tassel. In Keith’s box was his diploma, sports letters and senior picture. All of these precious mementoes’ are in our family museum. I also found some cards that somehow got saved. Not only from high school but from Grammar school as well. They are an absolute hoot! Very retro now. I will post about them tomorrow.
Do you still have your diploma, tassel, yearbook, and cards? If not, I’m sure you wish you had. Perhaps if you do a little searching you may find them. You would be surprised how family members hold onto things, stored in boxes long forgotten. If you ask, they just might say, “Hey sure. I think there are some boxes in the attic/basement that may have some of your things. Let’s go get them!” And after you have gathered what remains, please do put them in your museum. If you do not have a family museum, you can arrange your keepsakes in a shadow box that you can hang on your wall. However you display your memories, know that you are preserving your past and giving yourself something to share that many people can relate too. Happy Graduation Day to all.
Currently, in every city and town newspaper, there are pictures and stories about the Classes of 2014. I found many of the Words of encouragement to Graduates interesting, so here are a few for you to enjoy. Perhaps you will remember your Graduation Day parting words. They can’t be too different from what it said today.
*It’s up to you to determine Society *Author Destiny *Fulfill inner purpose *Today you are ready to conquer world. *Live a life of significance rather than merely a successful life. *Your graduation is a launching point for higher dreams. *Choose what you are passionate about instead of money. *Keep moving toward your personal goals. *Own up to your mistakes. Take responsibility for your actions. *Create opportunities for yourself. *Go achieve great things, class of 2014.
Next Post: Graduation Cards