OCTOBER 26, 1940
WASHINGTON, Friday—I spent a little while with our son, Jimmy, yesterday afternoon while he was winding up his business trip in New York City. The necessity for reporting for duty in the Marine Reserve on November 1st, requires the severance of any business connections with which he cannot keep in touch, but he seemed to feel that he had accomplished all he wanted to do when he left somewhat hurriedly to catch his plane. I gather he made it successfully, for I heard nothing further from him.
Our old friend, Major Henry S. Hooker, brought a very charming young couple to dine with me at my apartment last evening. I made a sad discovery. These younger people run up three flights of stairs and do not even puff at the top! All the rest of us climb slowly and arrive breathless. Certain limitations come to us with age, don't they?
I took the midnight train down to Washington and found the President in fine form. I am going out to dinner tonight, so I am lunching with him today instead. It certainly is nice to see Mr. Marvin McIntyre come in again with the secretariat in the morning. He looks well and is even threatening a trip to New York City.
A press conference this morning emphasized something which has been on my mind for some days. One of the newspaper girls said that the wife of an army officer had telephoned to her office remarking on the fact that so many newspaper pictures gave prominence to the tearful farewells of the National Guard soldiers who were going to their winter camps. I understand only too well how many of these youngsters who have never before been away from home find it hard to face a year of separation, perhaps without any opportunity to go home or have the family visit.
In war time everybody is keyed up to the point of making any sacrifice. If you read Dorothy Canfield Fisher's: "Petunias, That's For Remembrance," you will realize that our Vermont and New Hampshire women were aided in the Civil War days by the fact that they had little time for repining, for the work of the farm had to be carried on by the women. But this is not war time. These boys are going for training and their families have no reason not to hope their health will be benefited, that they will get their jobs back, or that this training will be of value to them.
I think the records show that, with the free medical care, the regular life and the good food; the health of the Army, Navy and Marine Corps is better than average. Certainly the discipline and the varied types of training these boys will receive should either make them better workmen in the skills they have acquired, or give them new skills which will be of value to them.
It is true that we are not called upon to make supreme sacrifices at the present time. But we are called upon to do something which may be of infinite value to the country and even prevent us from being obliged to make further sacrifices of a more serious nature in the future.