JUNE 5, 1945
HYDE PARK, Monday—At the beginning of the war, we often heard air power enthusiasts say that now we would see it proved that only air power was needed in the future. For that reason, I think many people gave somewhat less thought to the foot soldier—the infantryman—who in the wars of the past always did the hard fighting and had the least glamor attached to his particular achievements.
Although air power is vital in the preparation of objectives, in the support and protection of ships and land forces, and for reconnaissance, it has been proved again in this war that in the end the infantry has to do the final job. The cavalry, in the past, probably held the place of glamor which the air force holds today, and the artillery, with its galloping horses, was always picturesque. But I imagine in the past, just as today, you heard grumbling from the infantry that their job was the toughest and the dullest, and that they got very little recognition.
So, on June 15, we are going to celebrate Infantry Day in this country, and I hope we do it with grateful hearts.
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One of the people who more than any other endeared the average soldier to us was Ernie Pyle. He lived with them, understood them and loved them, and he made the rest of us understand and love them, too. His voice is stilled now, but I think the columns he wrote will be reread constantly and will keep before us always the human side of this war.
There is another man who, through the medium of the cartoon, has passed on to a great many of us the humor and the pathos of the infantry. He is Bill Mauldin, and his book of cartoons, called "Up Front," will be published on June 15 in honor of Infantry Day. It is the story of the foot soldier and contains 170 pictures.
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I think this permanent record of a story which we have enjoyed and laughed over, and sometimes felt like weeping over, will be a record that most of us will want to have in our libraries. We have to remember that in the future we will want to keep before our children what this war was really like. It is so easy to forget; and then, for the younger generation, the heroism and the glamor remains, while the dirt, the hardships, the horror of death and the sorrow fade somewhat from their consciousness.
That is one thing that must not happen in any country in the world. Young people must have adventure in their lives and an opportunity for heroism. Perhaps one of the things we will have to do is exercise our ingenuity and imagination to the point of finding peacetime ways in which youth can feel that they are developing the traits which we admire so much in the heroes of our wars.