Thank you very much, Tom. I’d like to start, if we could, with a moment of silence, please, to remember Congressman John Dingell, who, himself, was a veteran and a distinguished member of Congress for 59 years, the longest-serving congressman in U.S. history. Let’s just take a moment to remember a good friend of the university and distinguished legislator.
I’m proud to be here today, as a veteran, and to thank all the veterans who have served in the armed forces and are working here at the university or who are attending the university to study, as well as all the first responders and members of our police and public safety units. Thank you all for making sure that we can live in safety, security and freedom. I’d also like to thank our facilities staff for making our environs beautiful and taking care of this wonderful campus.
While preparing my remarks to help dedicate this flagpole, I was reminded of two things. First, the informal motto of the United States, e pluribus unum — from many, one. And as we look at the flag flying high atop our new pole, we are reminded that it represents the diversity of cultures, people and perspectives that comprise this great nation. When we pass our nation’s flag, we are reminded that our strength derives from our diversity. The other thing that I was reminded of was the Pledge of Allegiance, which also refers to ‘one nation.’ But I would slightly modify the ending of the Pledge of Allegiance, if I could, changing, ‘and freedom and justice for all,’ to, ‘and freedom, justice and opportunity for all.’ And that’s where the University of Michigan-Dearborn plays so critical a role because this is our mission to help provide opportunity to everyone that attends here and to do our part to make sure that opportunity is equally distributed in our great nation.
I hope that as we walk by here in the future, we can always remember the indivisibility of our union and our commitment to providing freedom, justice and opportunity for all.