Time Capsule Is Sealed
Last Saturday evening under perfect conditions as the Wetzel County Time Capsule was sealed for the next century. When the top stone was set in place, I will have to confess that I felt a bit of pride to having been privileged to part of this historical event in our county. Later that evening as I lay in bed, I began to think about those people who may open the capsule and peer inside. I thought, will they feel a sense of wonder at the items we have sent in time to the year 2116? Or, will they see it as an amusement at the things we believe were important to us? I realize there is no way of knowing who, or under what circumstances, the capsule will be opened. This piece of history we have begun will tell its own story. I hope they feel a since of exploration at opening the capsule.
The members of the project – Earl Yost, Fran Caldwell and I – want to thank the many citizens of our county who gave items such as letters, books and a variety of other objects that they felt tells of our time in history. I wonder what people will think when the open a small white container that hold a pair of false teeth. I bet they will laugh at the primitive plastic device someone once used to eat an evening meal.
I wonder, will they open the container of honey and taste the wonders of nature made by thousands of tiny bees gathered so long ago? Will they taste the sweetness of the locust bloom in the spring of 2016? Or will they hold the red glass, once made by a skilled craftsman at Viking, up to the sun and realize the beauty once made in our community? I feel somewhat sad that I will not see their expressions when they open the capsule. Not from the aspect I want to live that long, but from the thought I just want to see their wonder as they experience bits and pieces of our world today.
I hope those who opened the capsule understand that the people who gathered that October evening stood proudly as Commission President Bob Gorby led the gathering in the saying of the Pledge of Allegiance, as we looked toward the waving flag high above the event. Perhaps, when they find the flag inside the capsule it will not have enough stars to represent a new state that may have joined our union. Or, perhaps in the next hundred years, differences in states’ opinions bring changes to the union we know today. Anything is possible in the future for both good and not so good. Remember, in the last hundred years, we fought in two world wars – engaged in dozens of conflicts on foreign soil and struggled to find social justice in our own country. Perhaps future generations will decide the best way to solve the issue they face, will be to change the fundamentals of our country.
I took inspiration from the words of Mrs. Leonhardt as to the purpose of our gathering. She came to our community and may not have known the importance of the evening’s event. Yet, she spoke with elegance words of a bright future to those in attendance. Ms. Mary Jo Guidi, representative for Senator Joe Manchin, read a letter from the senator. It told of his optimism for the state’s future and his genuine understanding for the purpose of the ceremony. I also very much enjoyed Delegate Dave Pethtel’s words that were written with the knowledge of the intent of the capsule. His words touched the very meaning of the importance of the capsule to the people of Wetzel County.
But, for me, I found the greatest understanding in the words of my good friend, Pastor Victor Hunter. I know no other way to express the sentiment of his words other than to share them with you.
Rev. Dr. Victor L. Hunter:
We thank you for this community gathered here today in solidarity with its past and in hope for the future. We acknowledge that we live in history and history lives in us.
We gather today to bless this time capsule as we bury it for future generation. We pass on the history and the hope, the memories and the deeds of our generation to the future of our citizenry. We share our stories, our values and our hopes, not because we have been perfect, but because we have played our part on the stage of history. May our mistakes remain our mistakes and not the future generation’ burdens. May our accomplishments give increase to their achievements. May these stories of our common life inform and inspire them to the common good in personal and public life. As we step aside, having had our hour upon the stage, may others step up to serve that common good.
We thank you for all who have contributed to this treasure store of artifacts. We thank you for those who had the vison to begin this good work and for those who labored in so many ways to bring it completion.
And now, Holy God, may those who a century from now open this time capsule know that on one fine autumn evening in 2016 we gathered to shake their hands and to greet them from the past-with good will and high hopes. Grant to them our belief in the power of faith, the strength of love, and the beauty of freedom, and the tenacity of courage.
In the name of God-Father, Son, and Holy Spirt-we offer this prayer and bless this time capsule. Amen.
With those words I cannot add anything that could improve upon Pastor Vic’s words and thought, except to say… see you Through the Lens.
Editor’s Note: For more photos of the sealing of the Wetzel Coutny Time Capsule, see page 16.