JANUARY 2, 1945
WASHINGTON, Monday—Our New Year's Eve party was a rather small one, and practically no one here at the White House was without some people at the front in whom they had a very deep concern. So at dinner and again at midnight, we drank a toast to all the men in the services anywhere in the world, and specifically to those whom we, as friends gathered together on this New Year's Eve, held constantly in our thoughts.
After dinner we saw the film based on Major Ted Lawson's book, "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo." The picture follows the book very closely and is, I think, a very good film. I am afraid there were very few dry eyes in the audience when it came to an end.
I missed part of it, as I had to go to two USO parties, but I was gone only a short time. First I visited the Uline Arena where, under the auspices of the USO-NCCS Clubs, a tremendous party for servicemen was being held. The Navy furnished the music, and I went up on the band stand to say a few words to the crowd of boys in uniform and the girls gathered there. It seemed to me that most of them were not in a very carefree mood, and so I hope that my rather serious words did not strike a jarring note. One simply cannot be merry just now! I could at least wish wholeheartedly with them for a happier New Year.
After leaving there I went to the colored USO on Georgia Avenue, and spent a few minutes with them. I hope very much that the year to come for all our servicemen will see such advances that next year they can truly be home in greater numbers and see the day of peace actually dawning.
So little has the New Year spirit entered into me that I have actually forgotten to say happy New Year to many of the people I have seen this morning. Nevertheless, I am really hopeful that the coming year will be met by all of us in a spirit of such determination to devote ourselves to the winning of the war that we will earn from our fighting forces great respect for what is achieved on the home front.
Yesterday, in the New York Times magazine section, there were two very excellent articles. One told of the improved care given our wounded men in hospitals. The percentage of recovery for those who reach hospitals is very encouraging. I think every mother and wife will get some comfort from this article, and I thought it ought to increase our sense of gratitude and appreciation of the courage and skill of our medical services. The other one was an article by Drew Middleton on the attitudes of the soldiers themselves and is, I think, very interesting. Taken with the articles coming out in PM by Alexander Uhl and Roy Ottley, it gives one a very good picture of the thinking of the man who is spending so many years of his young life away from his country under battle conditions.