Happy 247th Birthday! And thank you for all the gifts that you have given to our world.
Your own life seems to have been filled with deep sorrows--yet you produced the amazing tribute to Joy in your final symphony, reminding us of our unquenchable spark of divinity and our indivisible connection to each other as brothers.
--Born with a tremendous musical talent, and trained harshly by an abusive father, you gave us compositions that are filled with love, that remind us of tenderness, of the longing of the heart.
--Battling your own loss of hearing, you gave the world some of the most beautiful music for us all to listen to.
--Struggling with the tremendous tolls of war, of hatred, of raw ambition that were sweeping through Europe--you gave us reminders of the peace and healing and constancy of the natural world, our common home, the universe.
In a short 56 years, you fought many personal battles with sorrow and loss. But you turned your pain into beautiful art, that continues to speak to human hearts and give them comfort.
Our world today faces so many of the same struggles that you battled: loss of value for human beings, loss of our inherent and divine birthright, loss of innocence, security, honor.
Your music, however, continues to speak to our hearts. It continues to encourage us. It continues to remind us that greatness lies in what we choose, what we create, not in the circumstances around us.
Please know that we are continuing to carry the work forward. We know that one person can change the world. You changed the world. You showed us that loss and destruction do not diminish us; our choice to respond creatively, and courageously, establishes our own unique and unstoppable power.
Thank you, Friend! You have blessed every one of our lives.