MAY 30, 1943
HYDE PARK, Friday—Yesterday was a busy day. After an early breakfast, we made a rather hurried trip through the new factories at Arthurdale, West Virginia. The Hoosier Aircraft Corporation has taken over all of the factory buildings, and the Silman Manufacturing Company has moved to one of the school buildings. I hope they are going to be successful, because they will mean much to the community, not only now, but in the future.
At 10:30 the commencement exercises were held in the school. This is the only commencement I have attended this year, but it has come to be almost a habit to come here and I would regret missing the opportunity to see the community and its people.
I find it hard to look at these young people, however, and to talk to them about the future, for I know, in all probability, before the war is over, all the boys who are physically fit will have to serve in the armed forces and many of the girls will have to do something in the war effort.
There was a time, which we older people must not forget, when we faced young people leaving school or college and found it hard to explain to them that a world of opportunity did not await them. That is not the case today. It is a world in which young people are very much needed.
But, they will have a right to remind us in the future, that if you are needed to go out and die, then that for which you are willing to die, must also offer you something for which to live. No matter what it means in changes in the future, a world in which young people have no place and no opportunity must never again exist anywhere.
After the exercises were over, there was a brief luncheon, and we drove over to Scotts Run and the Pursglove Mine. Here the ceremonies were held for the presentation of Carnegie Hero Fund Medals. At the time of the disaster you may remember my writing before the two awards were made, one to a man's family for his heroic death, and one to a man who came through alive.
It was very thrilling to be able to take part in these ceremonies. I was glad of the opportunity too, to ask about the work at the little community house in the Run, and about the summer camp for the children from this area. The camp has gradually grown to be quite a permanent institution, with stone buildings instead of the tents with which it started.
It will be difficult to get volunteer workers this summer, but I hope this camp can be carried on, because it has meant a great deal to the children in this area, who do not have many advantages at the best of times.
We caught the late afternoon train at Newburg, W. Va., and I had breakfast in New York City this morning. For the first time in many months, I am back in Hyde Park again and it is really exciting to open my cottage again, which I closed last autumn to save fuel oil.