DECEMBER 3, 1941
WASHINGTON, Tuesday—Late yesterday afternoon I flew over to Philadelphia to take part in the beginning of their National Defense Week. Mr. John Kelly was in charge of the evening. There had been street races in the afternoon for boys, and, while I was there, the prizes were given out to several individuals and teams.
They had some wonderful high school bands, as well as police and firemen's bands. I had to catch a 9:15 plane back to Washington, so I missed the greater part of the exhibition, but the glimpse of what the young people could do was a great satisfaction. I felt there was potential strength there which could be translated into sound and healthy bodies as they grew up.
I feel that our physical fitness program should serve to awaken interest among young people and their elders to look into all available sources of material. They should know how to eat better food (which is what we mean by nutrition) and how to take such exercise and live in such a way that they will be able to stand physical strains. At the same time, they should build within themselves the kind of resistance needed for the long sustained anxiety of a period of emergency.
Carl Sandburg has just sent our Office of Civilian Defense two short pledges, which I hope people will copy and carry around with them. The first is: "I pledge myself to be a little thoughtful every day about the meaning of freedom and how and why I am a citizen of a republic of free men and women, and how and why men and women toiled and fought yesterday for my freedom today."
If we bear this in mind, I think we shall have a greater sense of responsibility about the preservation of our freedoms today. We shall come to the celebration of December 15th, when I hope every person in this country will read the Bill of Rights again, with a greater sense of obligation to see that the freedoms therein listed, are truly freedoms enjoyed by every citizen of the United States.
Mr. Sandburg's second pledge reads as follows: "I pledge myself to do a little thinking every day about the need of discipline and how, in a time of national danger more than ever, my own rights as a citizen are tangled and interwoven with the rights of others and these rights always deserve a decent respect."