FEBRUARY 13, 1942
ITHACA, N.Y., Thursday—I spent an hour and a half Wednesday afternoon at a regional meeting for civilian defense, called by Mrs. Oswald Lord, the regional director. Federal staff members and regional staff members met with representatives of the different states in this region. It was a very interesting meeting and I think some good suggestions came out of it. I was particularly happy to see some of the new staff of the Office of Civilian Defense in action, and to feel how well they are all carrying out their jobs.
Mr. James Landis has issued a statement in which he says what I have known to be true for a long while; that it has never been completely decided where physical fitness, as a division, should be placed. Many of the things which Mr. John Kelly is so ably doing, are things which should be done year in and year out. Perhaps, therefore, a permanent government agency is where his organization would function best.
He has done a very good job and enlisted people who can interest both old and young in keeping themselves in good condition. I think no one will question the necessity for young and old, rich and poor, in this country to be physically fit.
The next question, of course, that rises after the decision is made as to whether a division of this kind belongs in a permanent or emergency agency, is whether a dance program is part of that division. I happen to believe it is, for a great many people will dance who will not take other forms of exercise.
There is a good deal in the way of entertainment for children which can be developed as a form of exercise. But that is a question to be decided by the people in charge of the program. If dancing is to be included, I think Miss Chaney offered an extremely good program, and is capable of carrying it out because of her contacts in that field throughout the country, as well as her years of experience.
A few gentlemen in Congress have suggested that there is something not quite moral about dancing. There are good and bad people in the dancing profession, just as there are good and bad people in every walk of life. Dancing is an art and people who practice that art work hard and faithfully to perfect themselves. I think they should command our respect, just as all other good workers do.