“We are part of all we have met.” – John Henry Patterson
* * *
When I was growing up, my Boy Scout troop used to close every Monday night meeting in our church basement with a silent circle of arms crossed in front of us, connected to each other, and a recitation of this quotation. Our scoutmaster knew it from one of the exterior walls at National Cash Register Company, where he worked, and I always thought it was attributed to an ancient Greek philosopher. Instead, it was a paraphrase from Alfred Lord Tennyson’s “Ulysses,” “I am a part of all that I have met.” I still prefer Patterson’s version.
Patterson, incidentally, was a visionary businessman who founded the company and an idealistic community leader whose influence continues generations after his own life.