SEPTEMBER 3, 1941
WASHINGTON, Tuesday—We arrived in Washington this morning to find it fairly cool, and my daughter-in-law, Ruth, and I are both delighted. How spoiled one can become when the state of the weather really makes any difference in one's morning outlook. As a matter of fact, both of us were thinking far more about the things we had to do, and how much easier it is to do them when the thermometer does not register 95 degrees in the shade, with corresponding humidity!
I had an appointment this morning with Dr. Valiera Parker, who then went to see Administrator McNutt. I also spoke with Dean Russell to discuss his meeting, which is to be held here tomorrow on the subject of citizenship training for aliens. This meeting will be attended by the state directors of education and many others.
I am shocked to find through some of the clippings which have come to me, that my answer to a press conference question last week, as to whether I was satisfied with the volunteer participation in civilian defense, seems to have caused a complete misunderstanding of my attitude. I answered truthfully, that I was not satisfied with the civilian defense participation. But that was no criticism, as it was apparently taken to be, of Mayor La Guardia, because I am sure he is not satisfied either!
How could any of us be content when the organization is just beginning and will never be complete until every man, woman and child in every community throughout the nation, feels that in one way or another, they are contributing to national defense?
Secondly, I find that certain groups of women think that I do not believe in the participation of women in national defense. I can hardly understand how this misconception took place, because I have wanted women to take their place in national defense long before the government machinery was set up.
I felt strongly that, while it was well to take up any training available, it was better not to set up programs which could not later be easily incorporated with whatever arrangements were made through government channels. I believe that there is work to be done by every man, woman and child in the country. Some of us can take training which will make us useful in ways that are closely related to military work. Others, many more probably, can devote themselves to improving the life in their own communities.
This is a very important part of national defense, for it is this life in our own communities which makes national defense worthwhile. If it is a good life and meets our needs, and we know our neighbors are cooperating to achieve better conditions, then any sacrifices we make to preserve what we have and to attain what we hope for, are cheerfully made, and are part of the duty which we recognize as citizens in a free democracy.