JUNE 15, 1942
WASHINGTON, Sunday—Friday afternoon we had a party for some of the soldiers stationed in Washington. The President greeted them, the Army band played and then they had some refreshments and sat about the lawn. A chorus, organized by Mr. Donald Murray, and composed of members of the United Federal Workers Union, sang some of their own songs and we found that there was plenty of talent among the soldiers.
One of their number played the piano to start the singing and led at the end. I was really sorry when it was over, because I enjoyed having them and look forward now to another party in the near future.
Yesterday morning, the President and I greeted the British and American boys, whom the Treasury Department is sponsoring on a trip around the country. The Secretary of the Treasury came back from the country to be with them and the British Ambassador joined us on the porch. I don't believe they enjoyed the photographing any more than they have enjoyed some of their experiences.
However, they must be a great inspiration to some of the people who greet them in different parts of the country. These boys are a symbol of the unity which exists between Britain and us in the fight for freedom. I hope that, before long, we shall have added to their number boys from China and Russia, because in this fight no one carries the burden alone.
It is a joint burden and will continue to be in the future. Such honors as we pay individual heroes are really only a symbol of what is due to heroic youth throughout the world. We should not only honor the representatives of the nations which are fighting together today, but also those who represent the other United Nations, for they continue to fight in every way which is possible in spite of the occupation of their home territory.
As one reads of the many merchant ships which have been sunk, I wonder if there should not be some special medal of honor for the men who man these ships. In some cases they run even greater risks than the boys in the Regular Army and Navy. When we realize that, over and over again, they land from one torpedoed ship and as soon as they recover from wounds or exposure, they start out on another trip; we can hardly fail to pay homage for supreme courage.
Last night we saw a moving picture, "Mrs. Miniver." Because everybody had spoken so highly of it, I was rather prepared for disappointment. Instead, it is better than I imagined possible—a sermon, and a charming and beautiful one.