Busy day in Athens has me looking ahead and behind at the same time

By Michael V. Hannigan/HCN

It’s been a special 24 hours in Athens.

Tuesday morning opened with the Athens Chamber of Commerce hosting the 55th annual Farm and Ranch tour. At noon, Athens ISD held a ribbon cutting to celebrate a radical overhaul of the district’s schools. The day ended with the City of Athens holding an open house at the new Texan Theater.

Throw in the presentation of the final plans for the Cain Center Rehab to the City Council Monday night, and you’ve got four major stories with significant links to our history.

In three, old buildings are being redesigned. Each looking toward the future but anchored in the past.

The fourth story, the Farm and Ranch tour, not only celebrates the importance of agriculture in Henderson County, it highlights advances in agriscience to help everybody move forward. It has always been about the future.

AISD School Board president Rob Risco must have felt the weight of the moment. His speech at the district’s ribbon-cutting reached all the way back to the early 1800s.

History and posterity were tied together for a day in Athens and you could almost see the city’s founders holding hands with our current leaders.

I know tomorrow this instant in time will be over and we’ll be back to the now. I know we will be back to arguing about details. We’ll fight over how to balance past and present.

And money. We always fight about money.

But for one day in Athens it was fun to watch progress standing on the shoulders of prior giants.

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