JUNE 21, 1945
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—I want to speak of two things today which especially impressed me at the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union vacation camp. It seemed to me worthy of comment that the bond drive rally was started by calling for contributions from individuals. As I sat there and saw young women and young men, fathers of families, older men and women, all get up one after the other and pledge to buy anything from a $100 bond up to a $1000 bond, I could not help thinking, "Thank God for the United States." The people of the United States, who work with their hands, are now making enough to save and, at the same time, to help their country and their fighting men.
The membership of this union is 75 percent women, and therefore many of those at the rally had their interests centered in the fighting forces. By this contribution they could share, not only through their daily work but through their savings, in the daily lives of their men fighting in distant lands. Their ability to make this investment must have been a great satisfaction to them, and to me it seemed to be the justification of the past social measures undertaken to raise the standard of living for the whole people of the United States. Here the workers were participating as citizens in the war effort, acquiring a share in their nation and, through their nation, in the future of the world. What could be more stabilizing and what could be healthier than this universal participation?
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The second thing which I thought worthy of note was the number of children getting their chance at country life. Provision is made for them at Unity House. They have a playground of their own and trained people to guide them in work and in play. No matter how much of this world's goods you have, you could not put children in a more favorable environment; and that is something for us as a nation to be proud of.
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I had a great thrill last Monday afternoon when Mr. and Mrs. George Carlin brought Sgt. and Mrs. Bill Mauldin to tea with me. Sgt. Mauldin looks so young and is so natural it made me feel as though I were talking with one of my own sons. He has not yet seen his 22-month old little boy, who is waiting for him in Los Angeles. How much we owe these young people—not only the men who fought the war, but the girls who stayed at home and had the babies and took care of them and kept their men's spirits up overseas, and who meet them now with love and joy shining in their eyes.
Sgt. Mauldin's book has come to me already, and I am enjoying it thoroughly. I am sure that no one who loves Ernie Pyle and his writings about the men in the army will be able to do without this other interpretation which, in its way, is just as good a record of the average soldier. Sgt. Mauldin tells me he will go on with his work in civilian life, and I shall watch with interest his development.