January 6, 2000 Reflections... Obituary Insert

  Resolutions for the New Year

In the Public Interest
KOOL Radio Remarks
by Jack E. Brown

January 2, 1975

I gave up on New Year's resolutions a few years ago in favor of more modest resolves now and again that would just get me by the next week and sometimes even the next day.

This year, however, I have had occasion to reflect more on such things than in the past. I have just returned from two weeks in Omaha and Council Bluffs, the town across the Missouri River where I grew up, due to my mother's last illness and passing. While, fortunately, we had gathered only a month before at a happy family occasion, it is the first time in a while that I have spent two weeks with my brother and his family. It is the first time in years that I have had more than a brief visit with other relatives. It is the first time in many years that I saw friends from high school and family friends from childhood. Throughout, it struck us all as tragic that what brought us together was such a sadness. My resolve then and now is not to let the years pass without seeing those for whom we care, which means making the occasions to write, to call, to visit, to share each other's joy as well as tribulation.

And, with that resolve, it is in order, I think, to say as much for those who are near. Too often I at least-and perhaps you as well-have let pass an occasion for a good word, a gesture of appreciation, a deed of kindness. Too often I have been too busy to listen attentively to my own children. My mother would not have liked that. She found time for us and for many others as well.

In a different vein but in the same sense I hope not to turn away from public duty. Too often we bow to convenience, to inertia, to what is politic. A community, like a family, can survive much, but not neglect. In terms of this program, I mean to say what I think needs to be said and I hope those of you who listen will help me to do so.

That implies that there is much which can be done to improve our individual and community lives. In this year of 1975, the first order of business is to reaffirm our conviction that that is so. At the center of every difficulty, in the pain of every loss, is the nucleus of a new beginning, the mystery of life, the miracle and power of human response. To each of you this New Year, whatever your individual resolves, this is Jack Brown, wishing you a year of new beginnings.

Jack Brown, March 15, 1927 - January 6, 2000
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National Museum of American History

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