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SAYS THE WORLD IS GROWING SMALLER 

Miss Imogen McMurtry Read Salutatory At Commencement Exercises.

       Miss Imogen McMurtry read the salutatory at the commencement exercises of the Marysville high school at the Marysville theatre last night (6/25/09). Miss McMurtry chose for her subject "The World Is Growing Smaller." The effort was enthusiastically received and Miss McMurtry won for herself much praise for the able manner in which the delivery was made. She said:

       Welcome, kind friends and citizens of Marysville. In the name of the senior class of the Marysville high school I bid you welcome to our commencement eve. To you, the members of the board of education, to our teachers and to our fellow students, a most warm welcome!

       For us this is a solemn moment. We stand tonight upon the threshold of a new life. For twelve years or more the schoolroom has been our world. Its tasks, its friendships, its achievements have filled and formed our lives. Tomorrow as young men and women we will go forth and take our places in the world, " to suffer and to work". The world; how vast it seems to us tonight as we stand, lifting with almost reluctant hand the curtain of the future, straining our eyes to catch a glimpse of the years beyond. Where will we be, what will we doing a decade hence? These are questions only time can answer. Yet, I sincerely believe that as the years roll by, tidings will come of the good work performed by the class of 1909. Surely our boys at least, borne on by the good wishes of sixteen girls will make a name for themselves in the future. For the world is not so large but that those who earn distinction by genius, noble works or brilliant deeds hear praise and admiration echoing from every land.

       Without a doubt, the world is growing smaller, Not in bulk truly, for the twenty-five thousand miles of its circumference is practically the same as at the beginning, but conditions have so changed it that all nations can, and it were, shake hands with one another and if not yet forming one family can at least be considered very near neighbors.

       Formerly the world was so vast that civilized man had traversed only a small portion of it. On all sides it stretched away until its borders were lost in the realm of myths and monsters. Men knew only the happenings of their immediate locality and a long time elapsed before they heard of what happened in distant lands. They died where they had lived and only by long and dangerous journeys was an occasional trip made from land to land. Now the marvelous inventions of men, the direct result of universal education, has changed all this. We have a fair knowledge of every nation on the earth and hear of and are interested in the daily events of all countries though miles of sea and land, formally [sic] so impassable, intervene.

       The gift of invention, of creating new altogether unthought of marvels, is one of the greatest blessings bestowed by God on man. It is the divine fire said by the ancients to have been snatched from Heaven by Promethius [sic] and given to the hearts of mortals. it is a power akin to God's own and without it the minds of men would be dull and insipid. If the steam engine in all its various forms had never been invented or perfected as a result, the oceans would extend as endless expanses of water and lands now civilized would spread out mile on mile of trackless wilderness. Occasionally through the ages some advanced thinkers have prophesied of a time when horseless carriages would come into existence and messages could quickly be sent long distances. These persons have been deemed insane by their companions. When the locomotive and trains became an established fact the prophecy of horseless carriages was considered fulfilled. But within the last four years the automobile has claimed this distinction and who knows what wonders the coming century will unfold?

       The flood of scientific invention which never ceases is uniting the world and bringing the countries and peoples so near together that our earth is indeed growing smaller. The railroads, telegraphs and telephones connect the inland towns so that people can travel quickly and with little cost and thoughts can literally "fly in the twinkling of an eye" not only from city to city but from country to country. Great steamers race forth and back across the ocean and canals and steam boats together with the railroads bring all people together so that all civilized countries trade with one another under friendly relations. When the Panama canal is completed, the world will have grown smaller because it will take so much less time to sail around. At the present time a new and wonderful force is being brought to perfection; the wireless telegraphy, and its possibilities are as yet unknown. While the conquest of the air is almost completed by our scientific aeronauts.

       Civilization and education are of equal importance with inventions in making the world grow smaller. Schools are established everywhere in which we study our earth its history and geography; books are written on all topics and translated from language to language. Monthly magazines bring in a condensed form the current events of every land. While daily newspapers enter almost every home and we have learned to take an interest in the events of every nation.

       International expositions also have done a great deal toward making the world grow smaller. The first great exposition was held in England in 1851 and since then many have been held in the United States. It does away with the feelings of being far apart when people of different nations meet to view the products and achievements of one another, and a friendly rivalry is established which helps them all. Such is the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific exposition now being held in Seattle. The principal object of the exposition is to arouse interest in Alaska and the northwest and to stimulate trade between the countries of the Pacific. Alaska and the northwest have but recently been developed and little is known by the general outside world of the great empire, excepting the wondrous tales of gold. At the exposition much will also be learned of the Hawaiian Islands, of Japan and of all the countries bordering on the Pacific ocean. Even China is making a great exhibit, showing that she is at last awakening from her lethargy and is beginning to take an interest in the people beyond her celestial walls.

       Thus the world is growing smaller - is becoming more of a unit in thought and interest. Already men are respecting international law - the law between nations. In the Hague, Peace congresses have been attended by delegates from all countries endeavoring to preserve peace and tranquility between nations. In the United States, people from all countries live happily under one set of laws. So the years pass on and the world improves and grows more wonderful. And just as our forty-six states are united to form one grand union, so all the nations of the world are becoming.

Transcribed and submitted by Victor Robin, 2007.

Published in the Daily Democrat, Saturday, June 26, 1909


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