WordTree beta

New insights and connections with your text of choice.
Faster analysis. Contextual understanding.

Paste your text

×
30000 Characters left

Neil Armstrong Speech (2005)

President Sample, Members of the Board of 
Trustees, Honorary Degree Recipients, 
Distinguished Guests, Members of the Faculty, USC Family and Friends, and, most 
importantly, Members of the Class of 2005: It is 
generally accepted that Heinrich Schliemann, in 
opposition to conventional wisdom, believed that 
the ancient city of Troy could be found by 
following the clues in Homer’s mythical Iliad. 
Herr Schliemann’s assumptions proved to be 
sufficiently factual and he discovered the ruins of 
Troy about the time of the American Civil War. 

Subsequent archaeological expeditions revealed 
that, in fact, there were actually nine cities of 
Troy, each built atop the ruins of the previous 
community. Rejecting the precedent of building 
over old ruins, a 10th Troy was established at a 
new location overlooking the Pacific shores of 
the Southern California coast, where a new 
institution was created with the objective of 
providing the apex of scholarly inquiry and 
providing the ultimate opportunity for superior 
learning. 

Today, we gather to honor Trojans who have 
participated in this learning process and have 
reached varying but defined achievement goals. 
They will become graduates. This is a joyous day 
for the graduating students, relieved faculty, 
thankful parents, and amazed siblings. 

In remarks made seven score and more years 
ago, the speaker said: “The world will little 
note nor long remember what we say here…” 
The speaker was mistaken; the words were much 
noted and long remembered. I can, with 
substantially more conviction, repeat that phrase 
today. You will not long remember what we say 
here; I only hope that you will remember it as a 
day of joy. 

A few words to the new graduates: for each of 
you, this is a very special day, a day for which 
you have labored for seemingly unending eons. 

You will be the proud possessor of a diploma. It 
will affirm that you have demonstrated the ability 
to learn. You have learned the importance of fact 
and opinion, but, more importantly, you have 
learned the difference between them. I would 
hope that you have come to appreciate the 
elegance of simplicity. A simple explanation is 
often the best, but even more often the most 
difficult to recognize. 

I hope you have become comfortable with the use 
of logic, without being deceived into concluding 
that logic will inevitably lead to the correct 
conclusion. 

In essence, you have embraced thinking. Robert 
Frost famously remarked: “Thinking isn’t to 
agree or disagree, that’s voting”. Thinking and a 
willingness to learn have brought you to this day. 

Some of you have come from other lands to 
study here in this Trojan place. You honor 
us by choosing this university in this 
country. We hope your investment here has been 
fruitful and that friendships nurtured here will 
endure. 

Students of my vintage did not have calculators, 
cell phones, credit cards, personal computers, the 
internet, or reality TV. Some might say they were 
very fortunate. 

At the time of my college graduation, airliners 
were propelled by – propellers. A few military 
jets existed and rocket engines were primitive. 
Had a faculty member, at that time, suggested 
preparing for a career in spacecraft operations, he 
or she would have been ridiculed. The most 
serious proposals for space flight were found on a 
Sunday evening television program, The 
Wonderful World of Disney. 

But within just three years, the Soviet Union 
launched the first earth satellite and the Space 
Age was born. Within a decade, satellites were 
being used for a variety of scientific and 
commercial purposes, probes had been sent to 
nearby planets and humans were frequently 
flying into space. 

I suggest that you cannot imagine the change and 
related opportunity that will arise for you in the 
years ahead. Hopefully, the things you have 
learned will help you be ready for them. And you 
will not stop learning. Learning is a lifelong 
process, and you have a great start. 

Custom dictates that the commencement 
speaker give a word of advice to the 
graduates. I feel a sense of discomfort in 
that responsibility as it requires more confidence 
than I possess to assume that my personal 
convictions deserve your attention. 

The single observation I would offer for your 
consideration is that some things are beyond your 
control. You can lose your health to illness or 
accident, you can lose your wealth to all manner 
of unpredictable sources. 

What is not easily stolen from you without your 
cooperation is your principles and your values. 
They are your most precious possessions and, if 
carefully selected and nurtured, will well serve 
you and your fellow man. 

Society’s future will depend on a continuous 
improvement program on the human character. 
What will the future bring? I don’t know, but it 
will be exciting. 

The author of “The Little Prince,” Antoine de St. 
Exupery, was a pilot in World War II which, 
unfortunately, he did not survive. Fortunately, his 
writings did survive and I will pass along his 
advice. In St. Exupery’s “Wisdom of the Sands”, 
he wrote: “As for the future, your task is not to 
foresee it, but to enable it.” And so it is.
President Sample, Members of the Board of 
Trustees, Honorary Degree Recipients, 
Distinguished Guests, Members of the Faculty, USC Family and Friends, and, most 
importantly, Members of the Class of 2005: It is 
generally accepted that Heinrich Schliemann, in 
opposition to conventional wisdom, believed that 
the ancient city of Troy could be found by 
following the clues in Homer’s mythical Iliad. 
Herr Schliemann’s assumptions proved to be 
sufficiently factual and he discovered the ruins of 
Troy about the time of the American Civil War. 

Subsequent archaeological expeditions revealed 
that, in fact, there were actually nine cities of 
Troy, each built atop the ruins of the previous 
community. Rejecting the precedent of building 
over old ruins, a 10th Troy was established at a 
new location overlooking the Pacific shores of 
the Southern California coast, where a new 
institution was created with the objective of 
providing the apex of scholarly inquiry and 
providing the ultimate opportunity for superior 
learning. 

Today, we gather to honor Trojans who have 
participated in this learning process and have 
reached varying but defined achievement goals. 
They will become graduates. This is a joyous day 
for the graduating students, relieved faculty, 
thankful parents, and amazed siblings. 

In remarks made seven score and more years 
ago, the speaker said: “The world will little 
note nor long remember what we say here…” 
The speaker was mistaken; the words were much 
noted and long remembered. I can, with 
substantially more conviction, repeat that phrase 
today. You will not long remember what we say 
here; I only hope that you will remember it as a 
day of joy. 

A few words to the new graduates: for each of 
you, this is a very special day, a day for which 
you have labored for seemingly unending eons. 

You will be the proud possessor of a diploma. It 
will affirm that you have demonstrated the ability 
to learn. You have learned the importance of fact 
and opinion, but, more importantly, you have 
learned the difference between them. I would 
hope that you have come to appreciate the 
elegance of simplicity. A simple explanation is 
often the best, but even more often the most 
difficult to recognize. 

I hope you have become comfortable with the use 
of logic, without being deceived into concluding 
that logic will inevitably lead to the correct 
conclusion. 

In essence, you have embraced thinking. Robert 
Frost famously remarked: “Thinking isn’t to 
agree or disagree, that’s voting”. Thinking and a 
willingness to learn have brought you to this day. 

Some of you have come from other lands to 
study here in this Trojan place. You honor 
us by choosing this university in this 
country. We hope your investment here has been 
fruitful and that friendships nurtured here will 
endure. 

Students of my vintage did not have calculators, 
cell phones, credit cards, personal computers, the 
internet, or reality TV. Some might say they were 
very fortunate. 

At the time of my college graduation, airliners 
were propelled by – propellers. A few military 
jets existed and rocket engines were primitive. 
Had a faculty member, at that time, suggested 
preparing for a career in spacecraft operations, he 
or she would have been ridiculed. The most 
serious proposals for space flight were found on a 
Sunday evening television program, The 
Wonderful World of Disney. 

But within just three years, the Soviet Union 
launched the first earth satellite and the Space 
Age was born. Within a decade, satellites were 
being used for a variety of scientific and 
commercial purposes, probes had been sent to 
nearby planets and humans were frequently 
flying into space. 

I suggest that you cannot imagine the change and 
related opportunity that will arise for you in the 
years ahead. Hopefully, the things you have 
learned will help you be ready for them. And you 
will not stop learning. Learning is a lifelong 
process, and you have a great start. 

Custom dictates that the commencement 
speaker give a word of advice to the 
graduates. I feel a sense of discomfort in 
that responsibility as it requires more confidence 
than I possess to assume that my personal 
convictions deserve your attention. 

The single observation I would offer for your 
consideration is that some things are beyond your 
control. You can lose your health to illness or 
accident, you can lose your wealth to all manner 
of unpredictable sources. 

What is not easily stolen from you without your 
cooperation is your principles and your values. 
They are your most precious possessions and, if 
carefully selected and nurtured, will well serve 
you and your fellow man. 

Society’s future will depend on a continuous 
improvement program on the human character. 
What will the future bring? I don’t know, but it 
will be exciting. 

The author of “The Little Prince,” Antoine de St. 
Exupery, was a pilot in World War II which, 
unfortunately, he did not survive. Fortunately, his 
writings did survive and I will pass along his 
advice. In St. Exupery’s “Wisdom of the Sands”, 
he wrote: “As for the future, your task is not to 
foresee it, but to enable it.” And so it is.
About Us

Revelation is changing the way companies understand the fundamental truth of consumer experiences. Our online and mobile qualitative research platform is used by the world’s top research and consumer goods companies. Through Revelation’s Immersive Research™ approach, companies have unprecedented access into the behaviors, responses and motivations of consumers, leading to exponentially rich insights and candid discovery.

Learn More Our Tools Who We Are

About rev 670x400