JUNE 4, 1940
WASHINGTON, Monday—It was a really thrilling experience yesterday afternoon to look out over the Court of Peace at the New York World's Fair and to see thousands and thousands of people gathered there for the program which the International Ladies' Garment Workers Union had arranged for the afternoon.
Very lovely music was given by the professional artists as well as the talent the garment workers, themselves, so ably develop. Senator Wagner gave an interesting address. I received more than I was able to give, however, for as I looked out over those faces and listened to them sing "The Star Spangled Banner," it seemed to me that my faith in the reality of our democracy was deepened. When you feel something deeply, it is doubly hard to be articulate. Here stood a cross section of our people from many lands, bringing us an infinite variety of backgrounds and cultures. However, in all of them one felt, a confirmation of our determination to remain free and cooperatively to work out our destiny in the world.
Some of us forget occasionally that this cooperation for the good of all of us is the basis of our strength. A meeting, such as the one yesterday, reminds us how great is our power when we work together. Our citizens come from many lands where sacrifice and oppression and resistance are nothing new. They have met these conditions with determination through generations, and this generation will find strength to meet whatever comes to us. I get such a sense of power and solidarity from a meeting like yesterday's that I can face the uncertainty of the future with far more strength and courage.
From the purely personal point of view, seeing again many of the people who are now leaders in their unions and whom I used to see more often when I lived in New York City, was a great pleasure. I always feel like saying, "Thank you" to Mr. David Dubinsky for what he has accomplished through his leadership in this great union of organized workers.
Before this meeting I saw the WPA Contemporary Art and Craft Show at the Fair. The crowds made it a little difficult to see all the things easily and I felt a little guilty each time kindly people tried to push aside other people who, like myself, were trying to see the show. I enjoyed the exhibition very much, however, and thought it far superior to the one they had last year.
I also saw again the General Motors "Futurama." It is fresher in color and all the little automobiles now actually run. I am sure vastly complicated machinery accomplishes this feat which is so amusing to watch.
I returned to Washington last night to welcome Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Hayes and their family, who were here for the night. The President returned from his overnight boat trip and we saw the newsreels which have become to me a perfect horror.