SEPTEMBER 10, 1940
HYDE PARK, Monday—The service yesterday was an impressive one. All the hymns stressed the fact that this was a day when we were praying for peace. After his sermon, our minister, Mr. Frank Wilson, explained that yesterday, the President had asked us all to join in a prayer for peace. Mr. Wilson told us that prayer does not mean something that you say only on one occasion. It is a continuing thing, something you carry in your heart and mind all the time and it moulds much of your active life.
I have seen several articles lately in which people have seemed to feel that we are drifting into war. One after the other has said that this or that individual action, or government action, brought us nearer to participation in the European cataclysm. I look at it entirely differently.
It seems to me that a firm, strong attitude is more apt to keep us out of war. War is a mass movement, but masses are made up of individuals. An individual is much more apt to be bullied and badgered until he finally turns upon his assailant and finds himself in a fight, if he is weak and indecisive in character and allows his opponent to take the offensive. An individual, however, who feels strong and full of self-confidence does not invite the aggressor. I feel that as a nation we should be that kind of individual, not wanting to bully anyone, not wanting to take anything away from anyone, but feeling so self-confident and strong that no one desires to oppose us.
After lunch yesterday, I went down to Poughkeepsie to say a few words at the unveiling of a monument to General Pulaski. The General did much to help us gain our freedom and it is only right that we should honor him and remember him among our heroes, particularly at this time when freedom everywhere is threatened again. Quite a crowd gathered at the monument and one interesting incident occurred.
A few years ago, the Women's Division of the Democratic State Committee held some essay contests and we had a boy who represented Dutchess County as one of the winners. He was an interesting young boy who has now grown to be a young man and is practicing law in Poughkeepsie and managing the campaign for our Democratic candidate for Congress. He proved to be my escort at this Polish celebration. I think he is progressing well and I know that it gave me great pleasure to see him again. I am wishing him success in all his undertakings.
Our Norwegian friends left us today, so we all had a picnic supper last night out by the big fireplace on the picnic grounds. The children played all kinds of games afterwards to keep warm. I fear I must acknowledge that autumn has come to stay.