I have a duty

Keith - China Grove, North Carolina
Entered on April 9, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I am alive today. I consider this both a gift and an accomplishment. Each new moment that I draw breath is a testament to the tenacity of my parents, my wife, my family, and all their antecedents back to the dawn of life; it demonstrates a will to survive, to procreate, and to provide for those that come next as well or better than for yourself. This day is, for me, one of thankfulness to the determined and intense efforts of scientists and physicians, historical and modern, striving to understand how my body interacts with the world; how to protect it and my mind from the ravages of illness and hardship that, until recently, claimed lives with an awful casualness and commonality undreamed of in our modern society. It is a demonstration of the effectiveness of the relatively peaceful and free society in which I had the privelege to be raised.

Having begun today with this in mind, it is my duty to extend these benefits to my fellow human beings. It is my duty to share my knowledge, time, and resources in ways that bring about a betterment of society. The privileges of education, freedom of expression, travel, freedom of inquiry, and freedom from poverty are mine to impart if I work to make it so. I will not rely on others to cause change where it is needed; rather, I will become an agent of change. I am determined to make the world a better place for all who are alive now, and those who will come after. I believe this is my duty, as has been shown by those who did it for me.