“Wave of Violence and Anguish Sweeps Dozens of US Cities”   This is the headline on May 31, 2020 describing racial demonstrations happening again in the United States of America.   These are the same United States of America where we are guaranteed Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Assembly and Due Process of Law.
On this day in 1967 as a second lieutenant in the US Air Force Biomedical Sciences Corps I reported to my first active duty station in the hospital at Andrews AFB in the Maryland suburbs of Washington DC. Less than a year later when Martin Luther King was assassinated, cities across America erupted in race riots. I remember standing on the roof of the hospital where I worked and watching smoke from the fires in downtown Washington rise above the city. I could feel the rage and fear that spread throughout the United States of America at that time. 
2 popular songs about that time were “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” by Simon and Garfunkel, and “Where Have All The Flowers Gone” by Peter, Paul and Mary. WHEN WILL THEY EVER LEARN is the line from Peter Paul and Mary that strikes me now. I want to find a Solution to race relations in the United States of America where all can enjoy the freedoms we are promised in our Constitution.  I want to find a Solution to problems of violence across the globe.  In my mind’s eye I can see Bridges over Troubled Waters.
I am convinced that there is not a single SOLUTION that will work to solve these problems. Service Above Self and the Four Way Test of Rotary are very effective tools to solve these problems.   As Rotarians we are committed to these principles in the way we live our lives and conduct our businesses. The local service projects we do are committed to these principles and Rotary International spreads these principles across the globe as we do service and build Rotary Clubs.  
During this year as your District Governor, I have heard a number of people say that Rotary changed their life. What they mean is that Rotarians following the Motto of Service Above Self and the principles of the Four Way Test changed lives. Building Goodwill and Better Friendships through Service is how we build peace one project at a time, one Rotarian at a time. It is slow but it works. When I was that 23 year old second lieutenant starting my professional life at Andrews AFB I thought that big bold steps could bring lasting change. Today after quite a few years of experience with success and failure I understand that bold leadership encourages many small steps that together build lasting change. As Rotarians let us continue to step up to the bold leadership and follow up with service.
DG John Hutcherson