AUGUST 21, 1944
HYDE PARK, Sunday—I have been receiving a number of letters lately on the subject of the value of a year of military service for our boys after the war. From what I read in the papers and get in the mail, I think there is some confusion in people's minds. Some are thinking about the immediate situation in the year or two right after the close of hostilities. Others are thinking about a permanent program of training that will continue into the future.
Let us take the first consideration. There will be, when war comes to an end, a good many men in training who have never been overseas. At the same time, there will be a need for a number of men to act as a police force, or as occupation troops, in different parts of the world for varying periods. The men who have been fighting, and who have lived in remote places for months or even years, are going to want to come home quickly. It might be possible, on a volunteer basis, to get enough young men who have never been overseas to take the places of these veterans. It would give many a young man a chance to see the world, without the danger which his brothers lived through during the war years.
The second consideration can again be divided. One group asks only that all young men be trained for a year in some military service. These people frequently feel that one year is hardly adequate to train a man completely in any branch of our highly mechanized services. Some feel that we should aim at getting our young citizens in good physical condition through two or three months of basic training, and then use the rest of the time as a period of education in democratic citizenship. This will permit them to perform some service for the community in which they spend their time.
I believe this subject deserves lengthier discussion, however, and I would like to consider it in greater detail tomorrow.
I was recently given a copy of "What's New In Home Economics," a magazine published for the teachers of home economics throughout the country. I look upon this as one of our most hopeful fields of education, so I was interested to learn that 29,000 high schools, as well as colleges and universities, teach this subject. The teachers in these classes have a heavy burden, yet a large number of them are taking time to conduct adult classes in the afternoons and evenings, and are making of themselves information centers for their communities.
My only fear is that the courses are not as thorough or as important as they should be. I hope that as we revise our educational standards after the war, this will be one of the subjects we consider as of major importance.