MARCH 1, 1945
WASHINGTON, Wednesday—Like so many things in life, the President's homecoming this morning was a mixture of light and shadow. It was naturally a joy to have the President and Anna back again, but our happiness is greatly dimmed by the loss of such a loyal, warm friend as Maj. Gen. Edwin M. Watson has been over the past years.
General Watson had been with the President, first as military aide and then as both senior military aide and secretary, during many of the years that we have been here. I know that his loyalty and kindliness meant a great deal in cementing a deep friendship between them. For the general himself, I am sure that death in line of duty, while taking this most important trip, was probably a fitting climax to his life. For Mrs. Watson, however, the shock must have been terrible and added greatly to the tragedy of her loss.
As one grows older one realizes that these separations must come where people are as old or older than oneself, but nevertheless the loss of companionship and the readjustment is always difficult. So what would naturally be a happy homecoming has been a time of sorrow.
At noon we went to Arlington for General Watson's funeral services. The rest of the day was spent very quietly.
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Tuesday night I attended a meeting held by the Potomac Cooperative Federation for the benefit of the Freedom Fund. This is a fund which the cooperatives of this country are raising to help rebuild cooperatives in the liberated areas. This is one of the most important steps to be taken in places where people must get together or their progress will be extraordinarily slow, so this fund is one of the valuable contributions which can be made by this country.
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March 1 marks the 26th anniversary of the declaration of Korean independence. On that day a nationwide revolt against Japan took place, but it was put down by force of arms and the people were cruelly tortured and humiliated. A provisional government has existed and moved from place to place, however, and it still exists today in Chungking through the goodwill of the Chinese officials.
Some people in America who have long been interested in the Korean people have now established the American Foundation for Korean Education. The sole aim of the foundation is to aid young Koreans and Americans of Korean ancestry to obtain training in the technical and social sciences, thus enabling them to aid in the rehabilitation and development of a free Korea. Let us hope that the people of America will continue their sympathetic understanding and support of this long oppressed people.