JULY 17, 1946
NEW YORK, Tuesday—I received a letter recently from a mother in St. Louis who felt, as I did, a certain relief at our sane and quiet Fourth of July. She also has sensed, however, that some kind of general observance should be established to emphasize the meaning of the day for our younger generation. She writes:
"If something is not done, the Fourth of July will just become another midsummer 'holiday' devoid of any definite meaning, and the only time the children will hear and learn of the significance of this day will be in the history class, and sometimes things learned in the history class are soon forgotten.
"So this is my idea: Why not every home, and I mean every home, in the United States, on the Fourth of July, display the American flag? This idea at first may not seem too convincing but can you visualize looking down street after street in every city and town and see 'Old Glory' flying from every home? Could this be accomplished, it would not be necessary to repeat the glorious story of our forefathers year after year. This sight would leave an indelible mark on the minds of all."
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This word picture is really very impressive. Nevertheless, I think I would add a little to it. I would like to see people gather together in their communities and sing some songs. For instance, school children could sing the Ballad for America. And they could have some one talk to them about the people who made our history, what they stood for when the Declaration of Independence was written, and how the tradition has been carried forward from that day to ours.
It could not all be done in one speech but, over the years, every child in every community could get a realization of the flow of history and the leadership of great men. And they could be proud of their country and their inheritance. It would make each one more determined to live well and contribute in some small way to the growth and the honor of the nation in which they live.
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I cannot help feeling that most of us today need a little more confidence in our own country and in our individual capacity to meet our problems at home as well as such problems as arise from contacts with other nations. If we were weak materially or spiritually, we might be afraid to try to understand the fears and prejudices and needs of other nations, and then we would hide our fear under threats of force. However, we are strong and we can afford to be conciliatory, though we can never afford to compromise our principles and our ideals.
We have determined that our nation shall be a united nation and that we shall never give up our ultimate objective. The sooner other nations of the world determine that they, too, have an ultimate objective and that it is to achieve the international understanding which will bring world peace, the better it will be for all of us. If we never give up that ultimate objective, the world is bound to move forward along peaceful lines.