AUGUST 5, 1944
HYDE PARK, Friday—I have so much to write about I scarcely know how to begin, but I cannot let this day pass without a word of congratulation to the Coast Guard on their 154th anniversary.
In its early years, the Coast Guard was not considered a part of the fighting forces. But from 1915 on, it was officially called "The Coast Guard" in an act of Congress which specified: "The Coast Guard, which shall constitute a part of the military forces of the United States. . . shall operate. . . as part of the Navy in time of war or when the President shall so direct."
In World War I, the Coast Guard suffered a higher percentage of men killed than any other service. In World War II, under the Navy Department, the Coast Guard has had ships and planes assigned to convoy duty and anti-submarine control; has manned invasion barges, troops and supply ships; and port security and marine inspections have been under their jurisdiction.
The men of the Coast Guard have been at all of our most historic landings—in the Solomons, at Tulagi, in Guadalcanal, at Algiers and Casablanca, at Salerno, in France and on Saipan. In fact, the pages of history are dotted with the Coast Guard's achievements in the same proportion as they are with those of all our other armed forces. The SPARS, who are the women's reserve of the Coast Guard, were organized in 1942 and are doing a splendid piece of work.
To these men of our combined services, we extend not only congratulations, but the very best wishes for good luck in the future; and may the war soon end, so the men can return to their loved ones.
In New York City, the other afternoon, I was much interested at the way in which the CIO has organized its war relief work. They raise their money and contribute to the regular war relief organizations—the Red Cross, the National War Fund, etc.—and by doing that, they make their members eligible in every community for their share of community care and benefits.
I think this is particularly valuable because the worker should not be separated from the citizens of the community. He is not just a man who toils in one particular industry every day or night of his life, but a man with responsibilities and privileges as a citizen of that community. The more he integrates himself into the community, the better his outlook on his responsibilities of citizenship will be. Equally important is the fact that the understanding will be better in the community as to the needs of the workers who live in their midst.