FEBRUARY 13, 1945
WASHINGTON, Monday—This is Lincoln's birthday, a day which for all of us has a special significance, I think. As the years go by Lincoln's stature grows, and today, when we face problems which would come close to his heart, I think the knowledge of his firm belief in the dignity of the human being is something from which many of us draw strength and inspiration.
I went last night for an hour to the first birthday party held at the Industrial canteen, and was happy to see how it has grown and how enthusiastic everyone was at the party.
Today I have a press conference at which I will have a visitor from the University of Brazil as guest—Senora Vera Pacheco Jordao. She is an expert on American literature at the university, and has come here to do some lectures and to attend a special course at Harvard.
Some of the cabinet ladies will lunch with me, and in the afternoon I am visiting the public library at K and 8th Streets, to see the work done there for children.
From February 11 to 18, Negro History Week is being celebrated. The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History has a very active branch in New York, and they plan to end the week on February 18 with an interesting annual breakfast, at which Prince Orizu, author of "Without Bitterness," will discuss the vital topic of "What the African People Expect From a Just Peace." Dr. M. P. Ashley-Montague, eminent anthropologist of the Universities of Pennsylvania and Harvard, will discuss "The Racial Myth After Hitler."
The knowledge of the background and history of a race and its gradual development is always of vital interest not only to the people of that race, but to all the other races with whom they associate.
An interesting letter has come to my notice from one of our young men stationed in Paris. It is typical of the way many of our boys feel, and so I quote a little of it here for you:
"I'm convinced that whether I should leave for the States tomorrow or next year, this junket has been good for me. It has taught me how to appreciate home. I mean that seriously. The little things that one becomes accustomed to 'over there' where you are—the insignificant comforts and freedoms of life—and then the whole composite goodness and richness of being an American—I am aware of the preciousness of all these things as I've never been before. And I'm certain that the fellows who've been away from home for many months (and some even for years, now)—the boys who have really been fighting this war—are even more acutely aware of our country than I am."
What a responsibility we at home have to make sure that no disappointment comes to these boys!