SEPTEMBER 5, 1941
WASHINGTON, Thursday—I have a request from a man on a Charleston, S.C., paper, who suggests that it would be well on September 13th, the 127th anniversary of the writing of our national anthem, "The Star Spangled Banner," to emphasize the fact that this is a national anthem. It should, therefore, be sung by every man, woman and child whenever it is played anywhere in the country.
I think it is a grand idea, but may I suggest that if it is going to be done, someone will have to transpose this national anthem of ours so as to make it possible for those of us with little or no voice to sing it.
It is quite true that no song really inspires the people unless the people sing it. I agree heartily with this gentleman that if we are to create a feeling for the song, which translates itself into emotional patriotism, then every individual must sing it. There is nothing like mass singing to move people.
Yesterday we spent a quiet evening and I was able to accomplish a great deal at my desk.
I have had two long letters from Franklin, Jr., who is somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, and has been for several weeks. They are interesting, though he is allowed to say nothing about his whereabouts.
This morning I had an early breakfast and left by plane for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A busy day lies before me, which includes a press conference, lunch, visit to a housing project, opening of an NYA center, reception for a group of Democrats and speech this evening at the Mosque, all before another plane trip to New York City tonight.
A letter from Texas tells me that the Governor has proclaimed "Texas Children's Week" from September 7th to the 13th. I wonder whether this would not be a good program to inaugurate in all the states of the Union. The proclamation reads in part as follows:
"Whereas progress has been made in Texas during the past few years in bettering the conditions for children within its boundaries, but what has been accomplished is just a start towards the completion of a program of adequate care for all children to give them a chance to become good citizens and take a responsible place in their respective communities. ... We hereby declare that a free people by conscious effort and thoughtful planning can make certain that all the needs of their children can be met."
This is done to carry out the recommendations made by the White House Conference in 1940 on children in a democracy.