Contentment in the End

Percy Spender - Sydney, Australia
Broadcast during the 1950s
Percy Spender

In thinking of the world he wants to leave for his two sons, Australian diplomat Sir Percy Spender gives voice to his belief in public service, respect for nature and living without fear.

Life is an unending cycle of birth, growth, decay, death, and rebirth. As one of those who have lived more years than they have yet to live, I think pensively of our younger generation. I think of all young men and women as I think of the two sons who my wife and I have watched grow from childhood to early manhood. In my thoughts of what kind of a world it is I want for them, I have found expression of the things in which I believe.

I believe, above all other things, in a world in which men and women may walk upright in the sight of God without fear: without fear, each to worship a god in his own way; without fear to say, within the law, what is in the heart and in the mind; without fear that others, with intent to harm, may twist against a man what he might lawfully say or do; without fear that a man may be stripped of liberty or reputation without just trial or process; without fear that youth will be sacrificed in battle, even before it has savored the sweet bitterness and meaning of life itself.

I believe that it is not only a duty, but a fine and noble thing, loyally to serve your country and your community with all your heart, your mind, and your strength, and neither by word nor deed consciously to do harm to either. I believe in a world where men may dwell in peace, in a world where compassion and understanding take the place of hatred, rancor, and hostility. For it is easier for man to love than to hate.

In such a world, it is youth that must count. Our lives should accordingly be directed increasingly less to our own interests and correspondingly more to those of a new generation. Life is a great and glorious adventure. Through man’s unity with nature, I have relished the glory of a newborn day; the things of the field; the smell of earth after rain; the fragrance of fresh-cut hay; the cry of a bird in flight; the roar of the tempest; the stars on a cold, clear winter night; the serenity of an autumn afternoon; the cloth of gold of a harvest sunset.

In this life, we have our entrances and, as Solomon reminded us, our life departures. Live it well and joyfully, and it will return the joy a hundred fold. Live it, too, with dignity, courage, freedom, duty, and responsibility, and we will come with contentment in the end to the ultimate haven. These things I believe.

Sir Percy Spender was a leading statesman and diplomat of Australia, serving as Federal Treasurer, Minister for the Army, and Foreign Minister. In international affairs, Spender was a vice president of the United Nations General Assembly, Australian Ambassador to the United States, and president of the International Court of Justice.