At the opening, I gave a reflection as follow:
It is easy to lose ourselves as the world faces war, hunger, genocide, poverty, and injustice. It is easy to lose our perspective as our nation is struggling with the economic recession. It is particularly inconvenient to deal with the unusual snow and ice.
So, I encourage you to reflect on who we are individually and who we are as a community.
Who are we?
Who are you?
Who am I?
What am I?
I was a leaf at the mercy of the wind. The wind carried me from one remote part of the world to another. It blew me through turbulence and catastrophic weather. It took me to the Khmer Rouge labor camp and lingered for an eternity. It dehydrated me and nearly starved me to death. I helplessly watched the most devilish mother of all winds crush my tree into lifeless pulp. Like an almighty Olympian god, when the wind wanted to toy with me, it blew me through minefields, rockets and bullets. While two million leaves disintegrated, I persevered. Through an extraordinary journey, I discovered myself. I am fortunate, and I don’t easily perish. I was a golden leaf. Against all odds, I survived, laid down roots and became a tree.
I am a tree, but I am a tree among you.
That makes us a community of trees…a forest…and a force that makes the world a better place.
That is what we are.