JANUARY 17, 1945
WASHINGTON, Tuesday—Yesterday afternoon I had a very pleasant call from Mrs. Charles B. Gilberg, Mrs. L. V. Price and Mrs. James E. Mectum, who had been attending a Patriotic Women's meeting here.
They passed a number of resolutions, but as I talked to them I gathered they were not entirely convinced that the future would justify all the things which might seem necessary at present. At the same time, I could not help thinking that one of the great advantages of our form of government is that we can make changes easily. If we do things at one time because they seem necessary, there is no reason why we cannot change later on when conditions change.
I had this feeling of uncertainty about some of the things being done at the present time when I talked, the other day, with a group of World War II veterans which was meeting here. Some of the members present for this executive committee meeting, I should judge, had been discharged because of the age limit. Some of them, therefore, had not been able to go overseas, and it seemed to me quite obvious that whatever organization they attempted would have to be on a very provisional basis. They could hardly represent the real youth who have fought this war, and who are now coming out of hospitals back into civilian life or will return when the war is over to take their place in the active shaping of affairs in the nation.
People in this country who are familiar with the winter climate in France, Germany, Holland and Belgium, as well as Northern Italy, must read the daily stories of the hard fighting going on in all these areas with a very deep sense of gratitude to the infantrymen. I understand that sometimes the men feel their job is not very much appreciated. All of us know that on every front the final victory is never assured until the infantry marches in. Those of us who give it any thought know that in many ways the infantryman's job is the hardest and the most discouraging. He sits in the mud, he marches on his own two feet, he carries much of his own equipment, he makes his shelter if he has any, and he meets the enemy face to face.
In all the other services, it seems to me, brief let-ups are more frequent. For the infantry it is just grind, grind, grind. At this time of year, when I know so well that everything which climate can bring by way of discomfort is added to his daily job, I want to turn our thoughts to him in gratitude and appreciation.
Today at noon I am speaking to the newly organized Washington chapter of the Chaplains' Association of the Army and Navy of the United States. Then I leave for New York City, to fill some speaking engagements tomorrow.