DECEMBER 9, 1943
WASHINGTON, Wednesday—The night before last I had the first of a series of three gatherings for the soldiers who are immediately responsible for guarding this part of our capital city. They must know the outside of the White House by heart, but many of them have not seen the inside, and so this afforded them an opportunity to see the lower floors. Their captain had asked that they be shown the film of my Southwest Pacific trip and that I tell them a little about it. After some very light refreshments, we then had a chance to talk together for a short time.
Last evening, Mr. Walter Wanger brought his film, "Gung-Ho" to show me. It is the story of the Marine Raiders Second Battalion in training and their first trial by fire on Makin Island, which paved the way for the recent victories in the Gilbert group. It is a remarkable picture and I am sure that audiences all over this country will be interested.
In the first place, it shows very clearly the value of training. I think many of the boys themselves and their parents need to understand that the harder the training, the better chance a boy has for life when he goes through the actual fighting for the first time. It is horrible, of course, but it brought out one thing, that in this kind of fighting every individual has a responsibility and every man uses his own head. Some of them, like the "No-Good Kid" died having "made very good" indeed.
We also saw a short film on housing, the first in a series of films called "What We Are Fighting For." I think it concentrates the story of the past and the purposes of modern housing into a very few minutes. It is certainly interesting to have it pointed out that our ancestors built the gracious towns of New England and Virginia and, today, in our modern planning, are trying to return to the same type of building which they sought for and, as far as possible, to the same kind of living.
This morning I attended the sale at the French wives bazaar, and, as usual, they had the most enchanting things on sale. Afterwards, I went to the the luncheon of the officers, incorporators and chapter delegates of the Red Cross. It was a very pleasant get-together.
This annual meeting brings people from all over the country and their speeches go on throughout the meeting, so it was not necessary to have any at lunch, which gave us an opportunity to talk to our neighbors. I enjoyed both Mr. Cornelius Bliss and Mr. Gustavus Pope, of Detroit. They had reports on the work in all the different theatres of the war and I think they are justifiably proud of the record of Red Cross workers everywhere.