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Friday, November 20, 2009

Radio, Douglas MacArthur, and staying young at heart

Art, KG6ZWD, sent this along. General MacArthur kept this poem displayed above his desk in Manila, and frequently quoted from it during his time in Tokyo. The radio part comes near the end.


By Samuel Ullman

Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; it is not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips and supple knees; it is a matter of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions; it is the freshness of the deep springs of life.

Youth means a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity of the appetite, for adventure over the love of ease. This often exists in a man of sixty more than a boy of twenty. Nobody grows old merely by a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals.

Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. Worry, fear, self-distrust bows the heart and turns the spirit back to dust.

Whether sixty or sixteen, there is in every human being’s heart the lure of wonder, the unfailing child-like appetite of what’s next, and the joy of the game of living. In the center of your heart and my heart there is a wireless station; so long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer, courage and power from men and from the infinite, so long are you young.

When the aerials are down, and your spirit is covered with snows of cynicism and the ice of pessimism, then you are grown old, even at twenty, but as long as your aerials are up, to catch the waves of optimism, there is hope you may die young at eighty.


  1. Hi Bill. The Ullman poem rings so true in my own experience as a teacher who specialises in working with seniors.

    The students that come to me to learn how to use a computer in their 70's and 80's are generally thumbing their noses at a society that says they are too old.

    The oldest lady I taught was 91 ,and as in the poem, her skin may have been wrinkled, but her soul certainly wasn't.

    In the most part they really "get" information technology because of their positive attitude and I do so admire them for their ongoing thirst for knowledge and life.

    And they give you hope that it is possible to stay young at heart until you fall off your perch :-)

    Kind regards
    Tony - G4WIF

  2. I've had a copy of the above for over 30 years. It was given to me by a retired WWII Army Col. who told me he obtained it directly from Gen. MacArthur. My old soldier friend didn't "fade away"; he died 3 years ago, but always lived with the prose as a back drop to his life.
    73 Gil NN4CW


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