DECEMBER 15, 1942
NEW YORK, Monday—Tonight I am going to a concert given in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. by the Dutchess County Philharmonic orchestra. The soloists are to be Major John Warner, of the New York State Constabulary, who is a fine musician, and Mrs. Lytle Hull, also a good musician, though most people think of her primarily as a patron and ceaseless worker inthe interests of music and musicians.
Last summer, this orchestra gave a concert out of doors at our home in Hyde Park. I feel that small orchestras [originally: orchestras,] like this one, springing up throughout the country, mean a growth in the appreciation of music, which is vauable to the nation as a whole.
While I was in Boston the other day, I heard a great deal of the terrible fire which cost so many lives there. A great many precautions are now being taken. No inflammable decorations are allowed in public places, and whatever can be done in the way of assuring safe conditions is being done.
I think, however, that the only real safety lies in the ability of people to remain calm under stress. If the doors had been opened and people had gone out quietly, nothing like the tragedy which occured could possibly have happened. It is panic which always leads to these disasters and I wonder if one should not train a certain number of people and dot them around crowded public places to keep people quiet.
I was interested the other day to see a report stating that approximately four hundred babies a day are now being born to the wives of our men in our military services. The report states: "Many of these young mothers are away from home with no resources other than the dependents allowance for the enlisted men. The American Red Cross is receiving more than 25,000 requests each month from soldiers' wives requesting assistance in maternity care."
When wives join their husbands for a short time near army camps they are not legal residents and, therefore, are not eligible to whatever community services may be open to residents. The medical and hospital care for service men's families, usually available in army hospitals in time of peace, can not cope with the tremendous additional number who now require assistance.
It seems to me that this situation will have to receive consideration by th e [originally: the] Congress not only because it is the right thing to do for the men who are in the services, and must leave their wives at home, but because these children are an asset to the nation in the future.