APRIL 14, 1943
WASHINGTON, Tuesday —I attended a party for the Thrift Shop here, an old charity in the District of Columbia, which supports some of the work done for underprivileged children. I was very much impressed by a short speech made by Captain Thomas L. Gatch, U.S.N., whose ship has a most distinguished record.
He is recovering from wounds received in action and paid a tribute to the blue jackets and youth fighting the war. It must make all of us proud to be American citizens and have our country defended by men such as he pictured.
Afterwards I went to see an exhibition of paintings by Jere Wickwire. The portraits are really excellent. There was a charming one of a little girl of three, and one of his mother that gave to age all the attributes we would like to have.
Mr. Wickwire has done a crucifixion and, instead of the conventional head of Christ, he has used the head of a young athlete. I thought at once that what he was trying to do was to show the crucifixion of this generation of youth all over the world.
Christ's Crucifixion has come to be the symbol of the ultimate gift which love for one's fellow may exact from an individual, for Christ gave up His divinity in order that He might suffer and redeem the human race. Through the ages that has been the symbol of the greatest love of mankind.
In his paintings, Mr. Wickwire shows that the youth of today is again paying the ultimate price for the good of mankind. They are giving up their lives so that the rest of the world may have a chance again to redeem itself and build a better world.
In the evening we attended a mass memorial in Constitution Hall dedicated to the two million Jewish dead of Europe. It was called, "We Shall Never Die." Flags of all the nations occupied by Germany came on the stage.
The music, singing, narration, and actors all served to make it one of the most impressive and moving pageants I have ever seen. No one who heard each group come forward and give the story of what had happened to it at the hands of a ruthless German military, will ever forget those haunting words: "Remember us."
All the way through, I thought how important it is in this country that we do not for a moment allow intolerance and cruelty to creep into our dealings with any of our own people, or with any people who have taken refuge among us. Even with our enemies, I hope we shall always remember that cruelty is a double-edged sword, destroying not only the victim, but the person who indulges in it.