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And now, This I Believe, a series of living philosophies presented in the hope they may help to strengthen and enrich your life. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. A direct descendent, on his mother’s side, of John Alden and Priscilla Mullen, and, on his father’s, of Rhode Island’s Roger Sherman, Colonel Edward Allen Sherman is an active and distinguished American in his own right. Like his five brothers, including the late Admiral Forrest Sherman, he was on active service in World War II. At present, he heads Massachusetts’ Committee for the Hoover Report. This is what he believes.
I believe that in back of the position my country occupies in today’s world is an ultimate purpose. World leadership is not ours by accident, nor did we seize it by conquest. It is entrusted to us to see if we are worthy of it. Along with the torch of leadership has been given us an awesome responsibility for the onward and upward progress of all mankind.
It was my privilege to be the eldest son of a man who taught his six sons a sense of personal duty toward God, country, and family. In his last hour of this life, my father’s thoughts were about his six sons, scattered all over the globe, serving their country. With such a heritage, it naturally follows that I believe it to be sweet, fitting, and proper for an American to not only die for his country, but to live for his country.
Being born with freedom of choice, I recognize the importance of the individual’s soul, accept the responsibility for individual morality, and assume my share of the total burden placed upon the shoulders of those who must resolve the problems of today’s world. Rather than to just sit by and moan about the darkness around us, I have lit, for my own use, these ten candles to light me on my way—these ten candles, which I describe as my personal “Decalogue of Civic Responsibility.”
I must reexamine the blueprint from which our government was built and rededicate the strong foundation stones upon which it rests. I must recognize the inherent dignity of the individual, which is the basis of democracy.
I must acknowledge God as the source of both our rights and our responsibilities, to whom we are grateful for our rights and to whom we are directly answerable for our responsibilities. I must apply the same moral, ethical, social, and economic standards that are axiomatic in family life, to the operation of the larger social units. I must do my part to regenerate respect for properly constituted authority in all social areas: home, church, school, community, state, and nation. I must assume and exercise the responsibility that rests upon every citizen for active participation in the process of government.
I must work to make government an efficient servant, rather than a master of the people.
I must help to seek out and destroy the power of those who divert and exploit the normal functions of government for selfish ends or personal gains. I must unite with others and participate in organized attacks on all those influences that deny the principles for which we stand. I must uphold and defend the integrity of the economic system that has produced the highest standard of living the world has ever seen.
We who live on this Earth today have been given this tremendous challenge: the task of building a new world. And although I am only one tiny grain of sand, I am part of this ultimate purpose. So my daily prayer must be for the strength and the wisdom I need to carry out my obligations, to fulfill the responsibility that is mine, my share of the job.
I had a brother who both lived and died for his country. The least that I can do is to live for my country. An active, militant, participating American citizenship, contributing freely from all resources of the heart, soul, and mind, can bring peace to this fear-ridden world. This I believe.
There the creed of Colonel Edward Allen Sherman of Melrose, Massachusetts, a New Englander with deep roots in his country’s past, but also with an eye to its future.