Not just passing through

Today ends a complex journey of a 100 year old man named Strom Thurmond. Before the day’s end he will be buried under Edgefield County, SC dirt, in a family plot, in the soil that holds more history than most living people can fathom.

I have not lived in this state long enough to fully appreciate the man’s transformation, nor enough to despise him for views he held many decades before I was born. However, I made it a point to watch a portion of his funeral today. The eulogies ranged from terse, formulaic, and safe (read: Vice President Dick Cheney) to thought-provoking, a little dangerous, and inspiring (read: Delware Senator Joe Biden and South Carolina State Senator Kay Patterson).

Opinions Ol’ Strom did not change in life, he will not change in death. However, he leaves behind a lesson (as imparted in his eulogies) that demands attention. It is one we would all be better not to ignore.

Lesson one (paraphrased from George Washington Carver, I believe): It is our duty to live our lives with the intention of leaving evidence that we existed.

Lesson two: We are never too old to change.

We are not just passing through. There is more here than just us chickens. We can only hear if we take the bananas out of our ears.

Maybe that’s a little heady for wet day in the southeast. Maybe the people who got ticked that we showed an old man’s funeral on TV instead of live Wimbeldon coverage were right. Maybe, but probably not.

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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