JULY 22, 1944
HYDE PARK, Friday—I reached home today, having had two unofficial days at the end of our trip in which I saw our youngest son's wife and their two children. I was also lucky enough to catch our eldest son in port, and see him and his wife. Then in another city on the way home I saw a number of friends before taking the plane which brought us to New York City.
Our youngest son, far away in the Pacific, has been writing me that he is afraid his little girl will be quite changed when he gets home again, which is the way hundreds and thousands of young men write to their mothers and wives about their children who are growing up while they are away. However, this baby granddaughter is such a distinct little personality, I think even if she changes physically, she will always retain a certain something which will be a reminder of the little person that she is today—dainty, like a Dresden china figure, but nevertheless strong enough not to be dominated by a brother more than two years older.
I keep thinking, as I see all these young men in uniform, of one of the great problems which is going to face this nation after the war. Although some of these men have never gone to work, many of them had worked. They look forward to more or less similar jobs again, but I doubt if they realize what the routine of life in thousands of small communities, or even in big cities, is going to be like.
These men were clerks in stores, they were truck drivers, they were day laborers, skilled workmen, factory workers, miners and young professionals starting in a small way. Now for several years they have faced death many times over, living in constant proximity to danger. They have been heroes. Life at home, after the first happy reunion, will lack some flavor which was present when they were comrades in arms in a great adventure.
What can we give these boys? A vision of personal service in the great adventure of daily living, which will give them again the feeling of being comrades in arms in something quite as important as winning the war? It is easy to talk about the responsibilities of citizenship in a democracy, and about the extraordinary adventure of the world of the future, in which they may take part. Few people can see the vision, obscured as it will be by their daily humdrum lives, and yet it is a great adventure.
If all of this potential strength which will have won the war, can be harnessed to win the peace, what great things each community can accomplish! The riches of a nation are its people, but they must have a vision of what they can accomplish, or they will fall short of their desired achievement.