OCTOBER 10, 1945
NEW HAVEN, Conn., Tuesday—On Sunday evening I attended the annual dinner given by Freedom House, when their award for this year was presented to General Eisenhower. Since he could not be there in person, he asked that it be accepted for him by a private first class of his army who held certain battle distinctions. Pfc. Harold G. Taylor, who accepted the award with great dignity, is a native of Delmar, near Albany, N. Y. He is only 20 years old, but has all the coveted decorations. I enjoyed talking with him, and kept wishing that his family and his neighbors could be there. They are all proud of him for his battle achievements; but his simplicity and poise in the face of such a large audience, and when he was carrying out such an honorable assignment, would have added to their pride. On this evening he was the symbol of all our young American soldiers, and I, too, felt proud that they had such a good representative.
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I read a report the other night made by the Salvation Army on its work in World War II. I wondered how many people realized that this organization, which functions all over the world, of course, had its first baptism of fire in the retreat to and from Dunkirk. Only two of the score of Red Shield canteens returned from Dunkirk to England, so that the Salvation Army began to chalk up its first casualties at that time.
Salvation Army mobile units, or "invasion canteens," have rolled down the ramps of LST's along with the jeeps and trucks and tanks. Their mobile caravans have today traveled a distance approximately equivalent to going four times around the world. These mobile canteens often were equipped with libraries, radio sets, a film projector and films, a record player and facilities for serving 4,600 men.
They did not forget their religious services, but neither did they forget that mere man must be fed and warmed and sheltered before his spirits can rise to consider spiritual things.
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I read a book not long ago by an eminent divine who seems to feel that one of our major troubles is the fact that we think too much about attaining decent standards of living for our people, and too little about salvaging their souls. For me the two have always had to go hand in hand, and I think that is one reason why I have always appreciated the work of the Salvation Army. They are usually as practical as the Catholic Church: both of them know the weaknesses and strengths of human beings.