My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

WASHINGTON, Thursday—It was a pretty ceremony yesterday at the Navy Yard as the American flag came down and the Norwegian flag went up on the ship which the Crown Princess of Norway had just accepted from the President. The sailors on the ship looked so young and the captain, who came to shake hands with the President, elicited the remark from him that he looked young to take charge of a ship.

Today I have been to Annapolis, Md., to the Navy Wives Club. I have been to the Officers' Wives Club on a number of occasions, but this club is a new one and represents the wives of the enlisted men. We had a very pleasant small lunch at Carvel Hall, and then went to the new USO building for a meeting. It is a delightful building of brick and harmonizes with the general colonial atmosphere of Annapolis.

I met there a Merchant Marine sailor wearing a medal of which he was very proud. He had been twice torpedoed in 26 hours and, somewhere along the line, he had also spent 4 days as a prisoner of war on a German submarine. He was a Texan and had just been home on leave. I wished I could have heard him tell of his adventures, instead of having just two minutes with him when my own talk before the club was over.

One of the questions asked was interesting, and I think must be in the minds of a great many women today. Should children be made aware of the war, or should it be kept away from them as much as possible? Children vary so much that it is hard to give an answer which would cover all situations.

For instance, one of my daughters-in-law told me that her little boy wakes up at night whenever he has heard anything terrifying. She cannot even read him "The Three Bears" or "Little Black Sambo." Other children take things with great calm and, I sometimes think, are decidedly cold-blooded, or, perhaps, we had better say are unimaginative.

Of one thing I am very sure; every child should be made aware of the fact that his country is in a life and death struggle and that he has a part in it, even if it is only giving up chewing gum, or an ice cream soda, or a piece of candy. It should be a voluntary sacrifice which makes him part of the general struggle of the people all around him.

There will be too long an aftermath of this war not to bring up this younger generation with a realization of the grave responsibilities which they carry as citizens of a great democracy, where much of the responsibility for future world conditions may have to be accepted.

E.R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL