AUGUST 4, 1944
NEW YORK, Thursday—Yesterday morning I arrived in Boston and went a little early to the church to attend Miss LeHand's funeral.
Anyone who has led a busy life in which he has been indispensable to other people who are equally busy, comes to realize—when stricken with an illness—that it is not one's activities which are really important in this life. When you lay down the things you do, day by day, someone else always takes them up. The really important thing is what you are as a person, what your character and your presence have meant to those you lived with, and what influence you have had on the atmosphere of your home or your environment—regardless of whether this was a restricted one, or a broad one which touched many lives and large numbers of people. That is what lives afterwards in the memories and in the hearts of those who knew and loved you. As you influenced these people, so your influence will spread, through their contacts and their activities.
Miss LeHand leaves a host of friends besides her family. Perhaps the way in which she bore the last few years of illness will have a greater influence on those around her than the many years in which she lived and worked in public life, when she did a valiant and important job.
I caught a plane back to New York City and was able to go in the afternoon to see the CIO War Relief office on Broadway. I will tell you more about this in another column.
In the late afternoon I met some of the staff and delegates back from the Chicago convention. They were full of things they wished to tell me and I only hope I remember them all, for the value of an onlooker in politics lies in possessing a good memory, and in always being able to compare the present with the past when thinking of the future. One of the things that interested me in Charles Michelson's book, "The Ghost Talks," was his extraordinary memory even for small details of conversation. I recall that Louis Howe had that same kind of memory.
Mr. Michelson's book, by the way, seems to me a very good book for college students of government and political science. The young are apt to be so full of ideals that they forget how advances are made, and what are the practical steps that must be taken no matter what one is trying to accomplish. Compromises must be made, and men of different views often have to be reconciled before any gain is made.