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Schieffer On Graduation Day

Weekly commentary by CBS Evening News chief Washington correspondent and Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer.

It is graduation time and yesterday I gave the commencement address at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas in Austin.

I told the students it was a special honor for me because Lyndon Johnson was the first politician I ever saw — I was 10 years old, he was campaigning for the Senate, and came to our neighborhood in a helicopter.

We had never seen a helicopter, and when we heard his voice on an electric bullhorn come out of the sky, it scared us to death. We didn't know if it was Lyndon Johnson, or God, or what — but that's another story.

What made yesterday even more meaningful for me was that my parents grew up on the edge of that campus during the Great Depression.

It might well have been a thousand miles away because they had no money to go there, but seeing that their children would have what they couldn't — a college education — became the driving force in their lives.

I was the first on either side of the family to achieve that, and a week ago, when my nephew received his degree, their dream was realized and then some. Not only had all their children graduated from college, but their grandchildren had as well.

It made me so proud because I know how they would have felt. That's the thing about graduations — whether you're a graduate or a parent or a sister or brother or someone who just dropped by, graduations bring out feelings we experience at no other time of our lives.

Graduation is my favorite day — I hope you're lucky enough to attend one this year.

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By Bob Schieffer

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