Take a Step

Once again, there is something I would like you to do. I wouldn’t ask you to do it if I were not willing to do it myself. And I wasn’t willing to do it myself, but I was surely eager to do it with my friend, Alex Brown. Last year it happened, and my gratitude and enthusiasm for it has continued to this day. What is it? One Island. One Community. Consider this your invitation to a Hilton Head Island-sized Fourth of July picnic. It’s free of charge. What can you do? You can accept my invitation. And you can take some steps.

Step number one is to step out. Likely, you’ve been doing this with the beautiful Lowcountry spring season we’ve enjoyed. I’ve seen you engaged in funerals and fundraisers, festivals and fiestas, sporting events and supporting neighbors. You’ve been there. Now I’m asking you to step out of your comfort zone and meet people in your greater community you may never have met elsewhere.

Step number two is to step in. Meeting new people, I know you will take steps toward a better understanding of your fellow Hilton Head Islanders. While you celebrate this quintessential American holiday with them, certainly you’ll see the immeasurable value of our diversity, and you’ll consider the potential multiplier effect of being each other’s advocates.

Step number three is to step together. I’m convinced that essential components of our true identity exist in the knowledge of our history, the appreciation of our culture and the relationships of our people. If we continue to discover and capture this identity, we may confidently step together into a worthy future.

One of the first steps taken by the new United States Congress in 1776 was appointing a committee to create a seal for our nation. The motto suggested and adopted was e pluribus unum, or from the many, one. It remains, to this day, both a fitting description and a noble and lofty endeavor. One historic use of the phrase was on the annual volume of the Gentleman’s Magazine. Placed near a picture of a bouquet of different flowers gathered together, writers suggest the symbolism is the beauty of individuals in unity. Long before this periodical, Cicero relied upon the work of Pythagoras in his De Officiis, when he discussed the bonds of family and society. “When each person loves the other as much as himself, it makes one out of many (unus fiat ex pluribus), as Pythagoras wishes things to be in friendship.” (Cicero, Marcus Tullius. De Officiis. Liber I, Caput XVII.)

Because we Hilton Head Islanders are discussing, dissecting and delving into so many conversations and initiatives, we need to take these steps. So step out, step in, step together and enjoy a Fourth of July picnic as One Island. One Community. Or should I say One Island Community. Historic Honey Horn. 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

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