FEBRUARY 24, 1942
WASHINGTON, Monday—Ordinarily, today would be celebrated as a holiday everywhere throughout the country, but the necessities of the present time will make many of us think more seriously of George Washington and his contribution to the founding of this country than any holiday of previous years.
The threat to our country today and to its freedom is more serious perhaps than it has ever been since the days when George Washington, by his calmness and staunch tenacity in the face of disaster, lead us in creating a nation. He believed in the ideals on which this nation was based and we must believe in them just as firmly to live through the present period triumphantly.
This is a particularly good time, I think, to read the article in Liberty Magazine of March 7th. It is by John Gunther, and is entitled "Lessons From Inside London." Much that he tells us points the way to the spirit which we must develop here today. He was back from six weeks in London when he wrote this article. It is all the more vivid because what he saw is still fresh in his mind.
He advises us to take bombings calmly, and I suggest that we underscore one sentence on that subject. "A greater enemy than bombs—I speak quite seriously—is boredom."
He suggests that we go about blackouts—real blackouts—with caution. I think all of us will agree with him, that once having learned how to put on a blackout, we should not live in an atmosphere of constant darkness at night.
We should take to heart his observations on the acceptance of Russia as an ally by the British. We should remember the following thought: "The lesson from England is nevertheless clear, striking and obvious—that sacrifice is necessary to wage war, that the need of sacrifice becomes more urgent as the war goes on. One striking phenomenon in England is what might be called equality of sacrifice."
I went to the civilian defense rally on Saturday night at Greenbelt, Md., the housing community which Mr. Rex Tugwell had the vision to promote. The meeting was in the schoolhouse, for they have there a real conception of community activity and work. Their Greenbelt Community Band gave a very good concert. They had good reports on the work they have done for civilian defense. Better than anything else, I had a sense of community spirit, which is what we must develop now everywhere in our country.