JANUARY 3, 1941
WASHINGTON, Thursday—Last night we saw some very remarkable colored moving pictures taken in China by Mr. Rey Scott, a newspaper reporter of many years standing. I think he said he had been there four times in the last three years and these very beautiful and remarkable pictures were the result of his visits.
One sees China at peace. He shows the various types of people in the different provinces, as varied as our Indian, Mexican or Negro populations are from some of the other groups in our own country. Then the war comes and we see them united in war endeavors. The refugees are shown, the various occupations of a nation at war, the heads of the nation and, finally, the bombing of the present capital.
To me, the remarkable thing is the calm with which the people seem to face bombing whenever it occurs. I remember pictures of long lines of Spanish people waiting for their food rations outside of some shop in Madrid, lined up along the wall for protection from the airplanes flying overhead which were dropping bombs in their midst. There seemed to be no confusion and no particular fear registered on the faces of those people.
As we look at the English faces in the pictures which have come to us from bombed cities over there, everyone seems to be going about his particular job with comparative calm.
It is a tribute to the way human beings adjust to whatever they have to meet. Apparently, it is not just a lack of sensitiveness, for women and children seem able to adjust as well as men to the necessities of the hour.
A book I was reading last night from England, called "And Beacons Burn Again," gives one a sense of pride in the average human being. The writer, belonging to the landed gentry group of England, which for centuries has considered its scions the leaders of the nation, practically says: "It is not my group who will save England, but the miners and the workers and the people from the slums."
Here is something to make us swell with pride, for it proves that our American conception of equality, which believes in giving each human being equal opportunity to develop as far as he can, is putting faith in the place where it should be, namely, in the strength and capacity of the average human being.
I lunched today with the Junior Chamber of Commerce of the District of Columbia, and am taking my mother-in-law to the train. She will be back with us for the inauguration, but we have not been able to persuade her to stay over to hear the President's message on the sixth of January.
The three youngsters have gone to play with some friends this morning and the two little girls seem to be kept busy for the entire day. There is no doubt about it, holidays are gay times, but even the young have to be strong to take their constant activities.