SEPTEMBER 5, 1944
HYDE PARK, Monday—Everyone has been saddened, I think, by the death of former Senator George W. Norris. As one reads the editorials in the different papers, one realizes how prone we are to give people their due at the time of their death—but to wait till then before giving full measure. How often, during their lives, the very things for which we praise them at the end have not received the wide support which would have been so welcome at an earlier date!
Men like George Norris were pioneers in good citizenship. TVA will stand as a living monument to his memory for many, many years. It will be the kind of monument that he would be glad to have. A monument of living people, all of them living hopefully and increasing in well-being because a man fought a good fight during his lifetime, and won out. Many of these people will perhaps never even know what they owe to George W. Norris of Nebraska. If we are privileged, however, to look down and still watch over the things we cared about in life, it will be a neverending satisfaction to the quiet, unassuming gentleman to realize how far-reaching and how everlasting are the results of his efforts.
One of my most cherished possessions is a letter which George Norris once wrote to me. The things he said had the quality of meaning that could come only from one whose integrity and high purpose were unquestioned. I had for him the greatest admiration. His family must look with pride on his life, so full of accomplishments and service to the nation. In spite of their personal loss, they must feel grateful that he was given so many years in which to work for his fellow men.
This morning I read the second of Sergeant Bud Hutton's articles on the reactions of servicemen returning home. He puts his finger unerringly on the things which must make a man wonder, when back from the beaches of Normandy or the islands in the Pacific, whether we at home will ever understand what war on our own doorstep might have been like if they had not saved us from it.
As I read it, I kept thinking that there are two kinds of soldiers—these young ones who have had to give their lives in military service, and the equally valiant ones like George Norris, who throughout their entire lives have fought for the right as they saw it. A civilian patriot is never as glamorous as a military one. Unless those who are now in uniform, however, keep up their fight when they come back on the home front, and take such men as George Norris as their model, they will never completely win the war. This time, some of us feel the war must be won in peace as well as on the battlefield.