Our Quote of the Week comes from a speech that Sargent Shriver made in celebration of cultural pride -- Irish pride, to be exact -- the Address to the Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick. Celebrating the history and heritage of our cultural identity is understandable and can be meaningful, Sarge argues, but it is also important to transcend that identity so that we may expand our horizons and truly connect with our extended, human family.
Speaking to the Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick on March 17, 1975, Sargent Shriver celebrated the feast day of the patron saint of Ireland by drawing connections between "the deepest impulses of human existence" and "the oldest enterprise of Irish experience." He listed those human impulses: for independence, for unity, and for transcendence. Drawing both from history and from scripture, Sargent Shriver made the case that human beings simultaneously yearn for independence and for unity. Independence allows us to feel pride in our autonomy, but unity allows us to overcome conflict and to support each other. Transcendence is what allows us to rise above our mundane, individual struggles and to connect with what is universal in all of us: the ability to love and to nurture.
Sargent Shriver's words are over 43 years old, but they continue to resonate today. Indeed, they are more important than ever. Through technology, the world continues to grow ever more connected, and the United States continues to attract visitors and immigrants from all over the planet. We must celebrate the impulses that have made our growth possible -- for independence, for unity, for transcendence -- because only in doing so, can we grow stronger as human beings.