NOVEMBER 27, 1941
NEW YORK—A very delightful song, "Freedom's Land," has just been sent me. The music is by Roy Harris and the words by Archibald MacLeish. The last lines seem to me particularly fine:
"Be proud, America, to bear the endless labor of the free;
To strike for freedom everywhere and everywhere bear liberty."
Few of us think of liberty as being the product of the "endless labor of the free," and yet that is perhaps the first lesson which history teaches us. We may never relax in our vigilance if we are going to keep our freedom.
I have just been reading a statement made by the representatives of various local, state and national agencies, who came together in conference at the call of the Children's Bureau last summer, to consider what could be done in connection with the day care of children of working mothers.
National defense has forced this question upon us, for in many areas fathers and mothers both are obliged to go to work and leave their small children unprotected while they are at work. The over-crowding in some communities means the children are playing in the streets because there is no play space or school space.
One of the things recommended by this conference was the development of comprehensive community programs for day nurseries, child centers, housekeeper service and individual counseling service. It is suggested that nursery schools and nursery centers should not be located in industrial plants, but should be community agencies serving the community as a whole. Infants should be given individual care, preferably in their own homes.
The conference stressed the necessity of maintaining standards for personnel and equipment and programs. An inter-agency committee has been created and is continuing to study this question, which has come to be a very important one in various parts of the country. I hope that those in communities meeting this particular aspect of the defense problem will try to fit themselves for service in the care of these children, who mean so much to the future of the country.
I have seen a number of people today, met the engagements I told you about yesterday, and am taking the night train back to Washington. It is sometimes hard to believe that so many activities have been packed into the short space of one day.