My family and I recently attended my daughter's graduation from a California State University campus--a long-awaited event. As family and friends, we were acutely aware of the sacrifices required, not only by her but also by her husband and child, in order for this day to occur.
The weather was a picture-perfect Southern California day with a cloudless blue sky. We settled onto the hard bleachers recognizing that most graduation ceremonies had tedious moments, but all of that is soon forgotten when one's particular graduate crosses the stage to receive his or her diploma.
It had been several years since my husband and I had attended a graduation, so we were not prepared for what happened. A group of students in the rear of the graduating class rose and went through the motion of the "wave," which is more appropriately done at sporting events. Soon another group in the front of the class duplicated the motion. Two plastic balls were being kept aloft by other students, while a few others wandered off the field. Four school representatives were stationed on the field with the task of taking the balls away whenever they could. It reminded me of elementary school monitors trying to enforce the rules. However, these were college graduates, soon to become our future leaders.
All of this was occurring while the keynote speaker was attempting to make his point regarding the importance of continuing education after graduation. It was very difficult to focus on the speaker's remarks with all of the activity going on below us. The expression, "the coarsening of American society" took on a new meaning for me that day. The students participating in the on-field activities exhibited a striking lack of respect for the speakers and the parents and friends who had come to celebrate and honor their achievements. They appeared to be totally oblivious to the fact that their actions were so distracting and rude, or possibly they simply did not care.
Carole L. Spivey lives in Irvine.