The concept of the time capsule as we know it was invented by G Edward Pendray of the Westinghouse Electric Corporation. Pendray's capsule was buried at the site of the 1939 New York World's Fair on September 23, 1938, and is scheduled to be opened in 6939.
It was the intention of the organizers to "represent all the enormous variety and vigor of life" and to deposit "information touching upon all the principal categories of our thought, activity, and accomplishment; sparing nothing, neither our wisdom nor our foolishness, our supreme achievements nor our recognized weaknesses."
Since that time, numerous capsules have been buried, placed in the foundations of buildings, or catapulted into space. Now, at the turn of the millennium, it seems a particularly poignant time to speak to those who will inhabit the earth in the future.
The variety of material that can be included in your time capsule is almost infinite. It includes:
Usually, when community time capsules are dedicated, the mayor gives a speech, the local clergy recites an invocation, and a band plays the national anthem. The 1939 World's Fair capsule was lowered into the ground at exactly noon, as a gong tolled.
You and your family will probably opt for a somewhat less elaborate ceremony, but it is an event that should be attended by all available family members. If there is a prayer, poem, or quotation that has personal meaning, you might have the oldest or youngest person recite it, and someone should read aloud the text of the dedication page.
You should select a day of significance, either universally or personally. Some obvious days are January 1, Christmas Day or another religious holiday, the vernal equinox, July 4, birthdays, wedding anniversaries, Mother's Day or Father's Day, or a day of historical importance.
How long you choose to keep the capsule closed is entirely up to you. We feel that twenty-five years is the minimum length of time. To a child, that will seem like an eternity, but most adults realize that it passes in a veritable blur.
Each year the time capsule is in transit will add to its power and mystery, as time and events reveal the secrets of the future. Today's society craves instant gratification, and so this concept is entirely contradictory to our present way of life.
Be patient. It will be worth the wait.
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