I USUALLY tell friends on their birthdays not to think about growing old. I got a quote from somewhere—I could not recall if it was a movie or a book, but it goes somewhat like “Do not be concerned about your age, because today you are one year younger than you will be on the same day next year.”

It has a nice ring to it. And it tells us not to worry about years past because they never return. Rather it tells us to look ahead, or at least look at what we are at present. We could stumble on the next step with our heads turned the other way.

The Varsitarian celebrates its 75th birthday on Jan. 16. Can I say to it the same thing?

The quote may be able to console people who fret about their age, but in the case of the paper, on whose hallowed page you now read this column, it is wise to qualify the meaning I derive from the statement.

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From the pages of the Varsitarian has come countless names that have truly made indelible marks in their respective fields of choice. I don’t need to enumerate them; you’d just hear their names for the nth time, and you encounter them often enough. Novelists, poets, newspaper columnists, professors, directors, editors, actors, school administrators, doctors, lawyers, preachers, government leaders—at one point in their lives, they all became members of the “V” family and still are. An unspoken bond crosses oceans to unite them as if they were within an arm’s reach of each other.

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Through the years, generations of student journalists carried the “V” pennant through thick and thin, war and peace, sweet and sweat. Today, we look back at these glorious as well as infamous times, gleaning what lessons we can from them.

Why do I feel the need to look back now, to bring together bits and fragments of the past?

Well, what was constitutes an important part of what is, and what can be. Knowing where we come from helps us stand firmly in place and keeps us from floating. Under our feet would lie a foundation so strong that tempests would not be able to displace it. Knowing where we come from helps imbue us with meaning, and with meaning comes purpose.

This purpose, for us, is to uphold the tradition of excellence that our predecessors in the paper made, to conquer the standard which they set.

It is with this thought that I now write with a feeling of inadequacy. I have become part of something greater than I am, and am awed by the responsibility I have to bear.

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Our past is part of who we are, and who we can be. We can run from it; that is one alternative. But it will cling to us, though we deny it, haunting us like echoes of a forgotten memory.

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As we in the paper remember the legacy of excellence left by the forebears, we would do well not to rest on laurels. There is work to be done, more issues to put to bed. At 75, the paper is far from its waning years. Ironically, looking back at its history enables us to look forward, and know our task.

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