OCTOBER 16, 1944
WASHINGTON, Sunday—The news from the Pacific is so startling these days that one holds one's breath. It was to be expected that once German territory was reached the advance in Europe would be slowed up. But there is so much to be covered in the Pacific, one never knows where the news will come from, and lately it has been so much good news.
The distance to and from the areas where we are now operating is so great that I think few people in this country realize what it means to supply our ships and armed forces. This question of geographical distance is one which more and more in the next few months we will have to study and understand, because the better we do in the Pacific the further away we get, and the greater is our supply task. This will mean that the demands made on people at home will be just as great, or greater, in the months to come, and unless they realize the distances they will wonder why this is the case.
The American Library Association has just sent me a release which will bring joy to a great many people, especially to some of the school people in rural communities. If this plan, which was announced by the Council of the American Library Association at their meeting in Chicago, is accepted by the surplus property custodian, then on demobilization when army camps are closed, millions of books which have been provided for the soldiers will be turned over to the libraries in small towns throughout the country. The library equipment and materials are included in the proposal. It is suggested that these items of surplus property be turned over to the U.S. Office of Education and allotted to each state in proportion to its rural population. I hope very much that if this plan goes through, school and traveling libraries will be included, since so many children use exclusively the library in their school and have little access to the public library.
When I was at Mitchel Field, the other day, I saw how much pleasure their setup for telephone calls gave to the wounded boys just returned from overseas. Portable telephones were carried to the boys' bedside by girls assigned to this job. The girls put in the calls, and even held the telephone if the boy was not strong enough. The boys get these telephone calls free, because the commanding officer has raised a fund to pay for them. I can't help thinking, however, that this same service should be available in every hospital where boys are landed from any overseas area. It should not fall upon the commanding officer alone, in any hospital, to raise the money. It seems to me that the telephone company might contribute reduced rates, and the Red Cross might make itself responsible for a special drive in every area to keep the fund supplied with cash.