AUGUST 19, 1944
HYDE PARK, Friday—At last the men of the French Army and Navy who have been preparing themselves in Africa, are able really to fight for the liberation of their own soil.
It must be the greatest satisfaction, for these men, who escaped from France and joined with French leaders in England and Africa, have been anxiously waiting for the day when they could again fight on their own soil. Some of them have fought in Italy; but now they are home again, and one of the most touching pictures I have seen recently is that of a French soldier greeting his wife on the steps of his home in a reconquered town.
None of us in this country can possibly imagine what people have suffered who left their families for a long period of time in a war-torn country. They dreaded what might happen to the women; but even more terrifying must have been the thought that their children, whom they left at a tender age, might grow up and be inculcated with all the hated doctrines which they themselves were fighting against. In the case of all the conquered European peoples, they knew that as the boys and girls came to working age, they would be forced into some kind of labor, probably in Germany.
From the advances that are being made in both northern and southern France, in Italy and on the Russian front, it would seem utterly impossible for the Germans not to see the handwriting on the wall. It is therefore hard to understand why they continue sending robot bombs into England. One British comment which I read said they were the message of despair. They seem to me not a message of despair, but rather a message to insure the hardening of all hearts against them.
In traveling down along the Hudson River the other day, just after a thunderstorm, the sun came out of the clouds and began to disappear behind the Catskill Mountains. The path of gold upon the river stretched straight across from bank to bank, and the clouds were tinged with soft colors.
God has given us such beautiful countries. The number of places in different parts of the world where I have enjoyed that beauty comes to mind with each such moment as this Hudson River sunset. I could almost wish that God had not given weak human beings quite so much freedom, for we make of his beautiful world such a sorry place at times. I suppose we must trust to education to bring us finally to a wiser use of our freedom.