In November of 2014 We the People played in a film festival in Sarasota, Florida that was part of an amazing gathering of people. The event was The Veterans Legacy Summit, a multi-day conference hosted by The Patterson Foundation, which united leaders from government, military, philanthropy, national veterans-serving organizations, and others who support veterans.
The mission of the summit was “to share ideas, learn about unique partnerships, challenge assumptions and push the boundaries of potential to honor our nation’s heroes--to focus on creating meaningful cross-sector connections benefiting veterans and their families.” The gatherings were truly inspiring, and they will certainly yield much-needed solutions to how we as Americans can actively care for those who so bravely put their lives on the line for our freedom.
During the summit, more than 3,000 students from area elementary and middle schools came to see the We the People as it kicked off the film festival. It was a tremendous group of young Americans, whose response to the film was deeply rewarding for us as filmmakers: they cheered and applauded through the entire closing credits.
Yes, these are members of a generation that too often gets a bad rap from adults who fear that they don’t understand –or care about—their future as the next caretakers and leaders of our Republic. When we began the process of creating the film, we did so with the firm belief that those pessimistic adults were wrong, that young Americans do care about their futures, they do have magnificent ideas, and they will develop the capacity to guide America through whatever challenges may lie ahead in the decades to come. But they need to be invited, engaged, and inspired to pick up the torch. They must be provided with the resources and encouragement from America’s current leaders.
Kudos to The Paterson Foundation and those who organized the Summit for valuing the voices and participation of these passionate students. It is our turn to offer rousing applause. Here’s to keeping the conversation going.