Saturday, April 09, 2005

This I believe - a site that is worth checking out

About fifty years ago, the late Edward R. Murrow, one of our most respected news commentators and, in a different era, head of CBS news, created a program entitled This I Believe. It began as a daily radio program, in which famous Americans and citizens who had not gained fame presented their beliefs in radio essays of less than five minutes. In the words of the revived program’s website “…eventually, the radio series became a cultural phenomenon. Eighty-five leading newspapers printed a weekly column based on This I Believe. A collection of essays published in 1952 sold 300,000 copies -- second only to the Bible that year. The series was translated and broadcast around the globe on the Voice of America. A book of essays translated into Arabic sold 30,000 copies in just three days.”

The new edition’s producers are now collecting new essays which are being broadcast on NPR and will be posted on the program’s website. There is also an opportunity for any one to contribute an essay.

Writing a short essay entitled “this I believe” that would be a useful exercise for anyone. Dormgrandpop will draft and post his essay shortly.

Check out the project’s website at

Here are brief excerpts from the series, two from the old (Harry Truman and Hellen Keller) and one from the new (Isabelle Allende.)

Harry S. Truman
The ethics of a public man must be unimpeachable. He must learn to reject unwise or imprudent requests from friends and associates without losing their friendship or loyalty. I believe that our Bill of Rights must be implemented in fact; that it is the duty of every government -- state, local or federal -- to preserve the rights of the individual.

Isabelle Allende
Give, give, give -- what is the point of having experience, knowledge or talent if I don't give it away? Of having stories if I don't tell them to others? Of having wealth if I don't share it? I don't intend to be cremated with any of it! It is in giving that I connect with others, with the world and with the divine.

Hellen Keller (A serious illness deprived her of sight and hearing when she was a very young child. Her early years are described in the film The Miracle Worker. She later became an acclaimed writer, lecturer and social commentator.)

It was a terrible blow to my faith when I learned that millions of my fellow creatures must labor all their days for food and shelter, bear the most crushing burdens, and die without having known the joy of living. My security vanished forever, and I have never regained the radiant belief of my young years that earth is a happy home and hearth for the majority of mankind. But faith is a state of mind. The believer is not soon disheartened. If he is turned out of his shelter, he builds up a house that the winds of the earth cannot destroy.

When I think of the suffering and famine, and the continued slaughter of men, my spirit bleeds. But the thought comes to me that, like the little deaf, dumb and blind child I once was, mankind is growing out of the darkness of ignorance and hate into the light of a brighter day.


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