(turns out, this was the morning-of draft):
Dear fellow classmates, Guests, staff, and all those not with us tonight…
What an honor, and privilege, for us all to be gathered here this evening.
First and foremost, a very grateful thank you to our reunion organizers. We wouldn’t be here without them. Seriously, we wouldn’t.
Second, there are classmates who aren’t here with us:
– distance, time, cost
– hardships, pain, death
If we could bow our heads for a moment, in silence, and pray or think good intentions for them.
Let us remember them in our hearts.
And for all our classmates, those present here and those not, who’ve have or are experiencing overflowing blessings, let us be humbled by our Creator’s goodness, grace, and mercy.
The fact we are here, together, in a free Country, with luxuries many never experience, may we be ever mindful that life itself, and the companionship of friends and family, is the greatest blessing for which we can barely comprehend. May we be genuinely grateful. Always.
And finally, let us bless the opportunity before us, the food that sustains us, the conversations that will flow, and the hopes and dreams of each person… be held in high regard.
There’s more to today, but who’s got time to add value to someone else’s life today?
Note: some suggestions from a great friend:
I’ll leave it up to you, but likely best for it to be relatively brief. Some of my thoughts are the opportunities we have to stay connected, remembering classmates that have passed away, some who have lost parents and/or children, blessings that some have experienced with children and/or grandchildren, God’s goodness to bring us together with a common bond and the opportunity to interact face-to-face, the hope to deepen our reconnections and to reach out to those who could not join us,