JUNE 24, 1940
HYDE PARK, Sunday—Yesterday was the coldest day for June 22nd, that I can remember, but we have been remarkably fortunate in having sunny, beautiful weather while the President has been here. Friday afternoon, we spent an hour driving up to his cottage and looking at a number of plantings of small trees. They were not visible until you gazed into the tangle of grass and weeds for a long time, but my husband said by winter we would discover quite a forest growing up.
Yesterday morning, we visited the new school which has been given his name and is just back of our cottages. It is really a building of which to be proud, in good taste and very up-to-date. I think both teachers and pupils have a good plant. The only criticism I could possibly make is that there may not be enough shoproom, for the pupils in this part of the world should be given every opportunity to obtain experience in manual skills.
Two Harvard boys, sent by Mrs. Dorothy Canfield Fisher, came to see me at lunchtime. Both of them are desirous of entering public service when they have completed their education. In order to obtain some practical experience, they have spent six months in CCC camps and have come out with a definite idea that a CCC camp should not be run as a relief organization, but should be open to boys from various income groups.
I was interested to see that these young men had gone far in the realization that a democracy which really functions, must receive service from all its citizens. There must be no distinctions on the service plan, everyone must give what he has to give, and receive the same compensation, opportunity for training, and considerations when his service is needed by the country.
I have always objected to compulsory military training by itself. I believe that, given the character and the discipline, it does not take long to become a soldier. Training to be an officer is a different thing, and training for the qualities which fit you to become a soldier takes time. I feel that universal service should not be a question of military service alone.
It should be a time when all boys and girls know they are giving a year of their lives to fit themselves better to serve their country. In return they receive training in manual skills, some additional academic training when necessary, and some absolutely vital character training and discipline which can only come with group living. This universal service should, of course, include older people on a different basis, but still with the idea of fitting them into the service of their country when needed.