FEBRUARY 12, 1942
NEW YORK, Wednesday—You might be interested to hear a little about the boys in the Brooklyn Naval Hospital. Nearly a whole ward was filled with boys from the "Normandie," who had been overcome by smoke or burned. They all seemed to be recovering, but the experience must have been a very unpleasant one.
I also had an opportunity to talk for a little while with a boy who was very seriously injured on the destroyer "Kearney." He is getting well and will be able to be about again, but his remark was that he wanted to "get back at them."
That is a wonderful spirit when your disabilities would free you from active service, but it is the kind of spirit which we may expect to find in all these young men.
As I walked through the hospital, I told the doctors that I had a particular interest in the destroyers because my boy is on one. I noticed a smile on the faces of the boys nearest me, so evidently they have a feeling, too, for destroyer duty. I imagine there is greater opportunity for contact between men and officers on a destroyer and, therefore, a greater feeling of belonging to one big family.
Franklin, Jr., looked remarkably well, and I expect to find him feeling even better when I go over today. I had a very nice telegram from the head of a group of Navy mothers, who visit the hospital and try to make boys who come from a great distance feel at home.
The rest of my day was spent on private appointments, and I worked rather late on the mail.
Everyone I met seemed depressed over the news from Singapore. We have been told that we must expect reverses at the start, and yet we want victory at once. The Axis nations prepared their people for many years, physically and mentally, for this struggle. They built up huge reserves of war materials.
They laid their plans well in advance. The people who did not want war, tried to plan for a peaceful world. They conditioned their people to peace. Those who foresaw, that, whether we wanted it or not, we might be attacked, had a hard time getting a hearing. No one wanted to spend money on things which might never be needed, and for that reason our preparation had, of necessity, to be slower.
We should remember now, however, that day by day the opposition in the Pacific and in the Atlantic, in Europe, Africa and Asia, is wearing itself out far more rapidly than we are. Someday, when we have reached the full power of our production, the day of victory for those who love peace, will come. Then we shall have to remember St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans: "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord."