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One of the greatest American novels of the 20th century is arguably F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby." A distinguished literary critic once wrote "The Great Gatsby is ultimately a novel about American history. Its theme encompasses the related ideas of mutability and lossthe loss of those illusions that give such color to the world so that you do not care whether things are true or loss as long as they partake of magical glory."

The tragic hero Gatsby does not accept the concept of time. In trying to recapture the love of his youth, a girl named Daisy, he refuses to accept that time has past. He believes that it is possible to repeat the past. His most memorable statement in the novel is "'Can't repeat the past?' he cried incredulously, 'Why of course you can!' "

In the closing passage of the novel, Gatsby is dead and his best friend Nick Carraway is brooding at the water's edge of the unknown world, thinking of "Gatsby's wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy's dock. Gatsby had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dream must have seemed so close he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know it was already behind him, somewhere in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled under the night. Gatsby believed in the green light. ...It eluded us then, but that's no matter - tomorrow we can run faster, stretch out our arms farther...And one fine morning against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."

I believe in that green light and tonight we are reaching back into the past to a time when so many willingly sacrificed their lives for democracy. For tonight that green light is within our reach. Let us not fail to grasp it allow that IDEAL which eluded "The Great Gatsby" to ELUDE US.

Thank you.

James M. D'Angelo, M.D.
Copyright: June 4, 2002

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