DECEMBER 17, 1949
HYDE PARK, Friday—I hope a great many of my readers listened to the first anniversary celebration of the Declaration of Human Rights in Carnegie Hall last Saturday afternoon or at least heard the re–broadcasting on Sunday.
Sir Laurence Olivier read the Preamble to the Declaration beautifully. United Nations Secretary General Trygve Lie delivered a short speech that was very fitting and at the same time absorbing because his diction is still tinged with his Norwegian dialect. The music, which was played by the Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Leonard Bernstein, was the main part of the celebration, as it should be, for music is a universal language. Unfortunately, Yehudi Menuhin, because of adverse weather conditions, arrived too late to rehearse with the orchestra and was obliged to play Bach without any accompaniment. He is a master of his instrument, however, and everyone enjoyed hearing him. The ceremonies were closed with the Ode to Joy from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony in D Minor—a really perfect ending.
I had to leave early to catch my train, so General Carlos P. Romulo let me speak before he did. This meant that I had to wait to hear the end of the ceremony on the rebroadcast. I could not help thinking how wonderfully General Romulo spoke. It must have been a tremendous tax on him after the week of hard work in the General Assembly, which only came to an end that very day. I think all of us have been very grateful for his work as president of the General Assembly. Knowing how much he had to do, I was particularly grateful that he was able to come to this first anniversary celebration.
I know that in many countries the world over the anniversary of the acceptance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was celebrated. I hope it will continue to be throughout the years, since only if we take it seriously enough and try to live by it, will it accomplish the object we all hope for and be one of the foundation stones of a peaceful world.
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Yesterday I took a good look at my attic and decided that only I could clean it out. I felt that unless it was cleaned out shortly no one would be able to move or to find anything in it. So, right after breakfast yesterday morning I went to work and I am happy to say that last night it looked like a really respectable attic, even though I do ache all over now. Everything is neatly in place and, what is more, I know just where everything is. For the first time in many months I can really go and find anything I want.
It is really amazing what one accumulates even though one is not a collector. I am trying to give my children and friends as many of my possessions as I possibly can while I am still alive so that I can see them being used and enjoyed. But I seem to have been none too generous, for more turn up every year to be divided and sent off in different directions at Christmastime.