In 1953, the region of Salzburg, Austria, sent the first ‘letter of responsibility’ to all citizens who turned twenty-one that year. It is called the ‘Jungbuergerbrief’ and they have done so ever since. The word ‘Jungbuerger’ translates into ‘Young Citizen’.
I think you will enjoy the translation and see the significance and importance of this document in a world that has lost a lot of its values.
You have reached the legal age of twenty-one and therefore have earned the right to vote. With this responsibility you have the privilege, and it is your duty, to participate in the shaping of your future public life – which is also important for your personal fate.
Your successful participation in public life demands being responsible, and requires a good knowledge of the history of your region, state, and country. Since you are a citizen and this is your country, you are being asked to show also knowledge of the people of your homeland.
In this celebration of your ‘coming of age, you are herby accepted, and it is now up to you to handle your affairs after your own will and strength; acknowledge the duties of the communities, and with a sincere heart help the development of these communities.
Support and uphold the beliefs and customs of your forefathers, and stand up for the independence of your homeland, the region of Salzburg, and support the freedom of your country, Austria, in word and deed.
You promised to uphold and honor these rights and duties in these celebratory festivities, and with honor you declared your sincerity - and strengthened it with your handshake.
Oberalm, September 20, 1953
Maybe we should send a letter of responsibility to the young citizens of America on their twenty-first birthday?