My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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HYDE PARK, Sunday—Here is the letter from a young man overseas which I promised you because it carries a message to all of us at home:

"There is one great fear in the heart of every serviceman and it is not that he will be killed or maimed, but that when he is finally allowed to go home and piece together what he can of life, he will be made to feel that he was a 'sucker' for the sacrifice that he has made. I am telling you this because I think it is important that you should know it.

"Since beginning this letter I have had dinner at our officers' mess. There were four of us at the table, all total strangers to each other, three officers and one woman reporter. It was not long before we began discussing just what I have written to you, and oddly enough I heard my own fears voiced by my two fellow officers, one a major and the other a second lieutenant.

"They both agreed that they wished people at home would stop being fed 'glamorous headlines,' and holding 'hysterical prayer meetings for D-Day' and sit down and think of the endless tedium which is war, and which the aftermath of war will surely be. No newspaperman will cover himself with glory or get himself a pay increase by reporting 'ETO exiles want home front reassurance' instead of 'I was under fire at Tarawa,' but it might be a boon to all concerned."

The meaning is clear. The men who do the fighting are wondering if we at home realize that they have given up months and years of their lives which they never can recover; they want to be sure that we at home are using this time in a way which will be of value to them. Will we see that they have a better job, a better chance when they come home, for health, education, working conditions, professional standards and above all, for a peaceful world in the future?

This requires of us thinking through a great many problems but it is the only way we can keep faith with those who fight and die or come back to live when the war is over.

Yesterday was a nice day in spite of the fact that clouds covered the sky off and on until late afternoon. We had some nice guests who swam with us in the morning and then we had a picnic lunch.

E. R.
PNews, LBI, 27 June 1944