JUNE 22, 1943
HYDE PARK, Monday—This is the day which is being celebrated as Tribute To Russia Day, and this afternoon I broadcast for the Russian War Relief Society. They have sent me a number of letters which have been written by Russians and by citizens of the United States under the stimulus of their letter writing campaign.
I will only be able to use a few of them this afternoon but I wish you could read them all, as I have. It would confirm your opinion, I know, that people the world over are pretty much the same. If they live on farms, they are interested in what they can grow in the climate, in livestock, and in the opportunities which their children have to learn to do better work than the older generation has done. If they live in cities, they want to improve the conditions under which they work and live, and just now, whether they live in Russia or the United States, their main interest is in the men in the armed forces.
Mothers, wives and sweethearts worry about these men in every country. In Russia, at least, the fighting is near enough so they do not have to wait weeks without news. I think, for our people at home, the most difficult thing is that so often they do not know where their boys are when they do not hear from them in quite a long time. In the meantime, the boys are sometimes two or three months before they get their first news from home.
The trying periods are those when people feel that almost anything might happen and they would never be the wiser. Many a boy who starts out for the Southwest Pacific, North Africa, Alaska or Greenland, may never have been more than twenty miles from home before he entered the service. When he was in this country he knew, if he could save the money, there was a chance he might get back to familiar scenes.
Once he learned about the long distance telephone and airmail letters, even if he was far away from home, he heard the same language about him and he knew he could hear a familiar voice if separation became unbearable. After he started overseas, that sense of security was gone entirely, and I think we shall look back upon this war with a feeling that perhaps those periods without news were one of our greatest hardships.
I was rather pleased to find the other day in the library here, that the soldiers from the nearby military police school bring their wives and girls there occasionally when they come up to visit, and really seem to enjoy looking at all the exhibits. Since driving has not been allowed, the crowds that used to come and go, can no longer reach any of the places of historical interest. I wondered if the nearby people, who have a better chance to see things more quietly and comfortably than ever before, would take advantage of it, and I think they do.