JUNE 17, 1944
HYDE PARK, Friday—Last night I attended the graduation exercises of the Capitol Page Boys School. I do hope that before long Congress will put through a plan for a dormitory where these boys can live. I think it would benefit their health and education, and for the younger ones at least, it would make the whole period spent in Washington of more value.
I reached Hyde Park around noon, and this afternoon I have to speak to some of our local clubs gathered together in Red Hook. I will tell you more about them tomorrow.
My old friend, Mrs. Arthur Terry, has written me again begging that I include a mention of her service, "New Eyes For The Needy." Readers of my column may remember that Mrs. Terry, of the Junior League of Short Hills, N.J., receives cast-off spectacles. The gold content is sent to a large refining company in Newark which returns 97% of the actual value. The shell frames are carefully sorted, old lenses removed, and sent to the Seaman's Institute in New York where they have a resident optician. The only exception is that old-age glasses are sent to the Kentucky Frontier Nursing Service. The frames of shell are fitted to new lenses to suit the people who apply to Mrs. Terry under the doctor's prescription. No one is paid any salaries and so this is rather a unique service.
One of the Fort Dix camp papers was sent me the other day and I am very much interested in an article about Lt. Col. Colin D. Macrae, who is commanding officer of both the 1229th Reception Center and the 1273rd Separation Center. This is the first such organization set up in the continental United States. In 1942, this officer was assigned to the reception center and has amassed a goodly amount of experience with the men coming in to the service from that time on. Now he says "the transition of men back into civilian life is as important and as far reaching as any problem when we first started to make soldiers out of civilians. Each officer and enlisted man, up for reclassification or separation from the service, is entitled to individual consideration, study and counsel."
If that plan is followed, this will indeed be a center which can be studied and copied by other separation centers throughout the country. Something like a million men have already come back into civilian life from the armed services, and so this is not an academic problem but a very real one which must be dealt with well, or the Army's job is really not complete. It took men and turned them into soldiers, and so it has a responsibility to turn them back into good citizens—not unhappy and disillusioned human beings.