Commonalities (11-17-13)

“This I Believe” is another of my favorite radio programs (I’m a big fan of nonfiction audio, by the way). EK-002cIt was conceived in the 1950’s by famed newsman Edward R. Murrow who wanted a vehicle to share the beliefs and views of both ordinary and famous Americans. The program provided people a way to share their beliefs.

The program was resurrected several years ago by NPR. As Murrow did in the 50’s, both ordinary and famous people share their personal credos and experiences related to them. What makes the contemporary version even more meaningful, however, is the Internet. Thousands of people have written in to share their essays, and these can be found on the “This I Believe” website searchable by theme.

As a wrap-up to this week’s theme of recognizing commonalities, I offer you the opportunity to read and, if you want, listen to an essay written by Christine Kingery. Kingery’s maternal grandparents are Holocaust survivors. In the essay, she tells about a lesson she learned from her grandmother when she was young. Assuming her grandmother would despise the Germans, she was shocked to learn that her grandmother considered the Germans her “friends.”

A few years later, as a high school student, she was in Nagasaki, Japan and visited the Atomic Bomb Museum and Peace Park. Conscious of her white skin and American appearance, she was worried she might be seen as a perpetrator. Emotionally moved by the museum, she stepped outside and began to cry. An elderly Japanese woman stopped to comfort her.

Considering her grandmother being friends with Germans and this Japanese woman comforting her, Kingery had an amazing lesson in commonalities. Maybe it can provide something similar for us.

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