Today I am thankful for…Chapel Hill.
This year marks 10 years since I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. May 17, 1998 I stepped across the field of Kenan Stadium in my Carolina blue gown to turn my tassle and enter the “real world.” This weekend, we are in the Hill for Homecoming.
Chapel Hill was a special place for me, as it is for many of those Tar Heels you may come in contact with. I decided Carolina was where I needed to be after attending the bicentenial celebration in October of 1993. Charles Kuralt spoke his famous words (see below), President Bill Clinton spoke, and I watched a stadium full of people – students, alumni, professors, fans – and teared up as I watched these Tar Heels express such pride in their education, their campus and their Chapel Hill home. In that moment, I wanted to be a part of this family, this place.
Oh, I’ve written about my love of Chapel Hill before, but I truly am thankful that this place is a part of the fabric of my life. I am proud to go home this weekend, don my Carolina blue and cheer the Heels against Georgia Tech. I am excited for peanut to experience, with slightly more understanding this year, the pre-game festivies of band practice, the Old Well walk, step-off, kick-off, half-time, the alma mater (which he can sing!). I am thrilled to see old friends. I am looking forward to walking the brick sidewalks, strolling through the fallen leaves on the Quad, posing in front of the Old Well and remembering the good times I had as a student at Carolina. I am glad to be in the place where I can remember L (has it really been four years?).
Today, I am thankful for Chapel Hill and everyone I know and love who makes it the magical place I love.
Today, I leave you with Charles Kuralt’s words from UNC’s Bicentennial in 1993:
“What is it that binds us to this place as to no other? It is not the well or the bell or the stone walls. Or the crisp October nights or the memory of dogwoods blooming. Our loyalty is not only to William Richardson Davie, though we are proud of what he did 200 years ago today. Nor even to Dean Smith, though we are proud of what he did last March. No, our love for this place is based on the fact that it is, as it was meant to be, the University of the people.”