We began to fear that words could be in trouble in 2015, after the Oxford Dictionary named an emoticon … a pictograph … as its word of the year. Since that low point, the venerable Oxford guide to all things words has stuck to words, singling out the new ones that gain the most use and attention.
We make us of this space today to praise words. They make us what we are, after all. And they do so much more. They make us socialized, communicating, interlinked human beings. They are the glue of the civilized world.
For many years, books (and literacy) were the possession of the wealthy and educated alone. Andrew Carnegie, 19th century industrialist, was also a leading philanthropist. One of his cherished projects was the financing of free public libraries that brought literacy and resources to the world. His philosophy spread to communities everywhere, and the resulting public libraries make our nation a better and freer place.
Let us descend from those giddy heights.
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