SEPTEMBER 13, 1946
HYDE PARK, Thursday—Last Tuesday, I went down to Philadelphia by train and was met by a delegation from the Helen Fleisher Vocational School which, together with the Benjamin Franklin School, is being used for veterans. These students are finishing their high school courses or taking refresher courses preparatory to going to college.
They have a committee which is running a series of lectures on questions of public interest. For the lecture last Tuesday, 1700 veterans were gathered in the auditorium of the Benjamin Franklin School for an hour of speaking and questions. I was very much interested in this audience of young veterans because they were so attentive and asked such good questions.
It was interesting to hear that the school had been dedicated by my uncle, President Theodore Roosevelt, and that the Athletic Department still uses a slogan that he gave them—"Don't fumble, don't foul, but hit the line hard"—which was characteristic of him. This is an old school and they are hoping before long to get a new building. I must say that this would seem to be a real need.
The committee of boys and the members of the faculty with whom I lunched seemed an able and public-spirited group, and it was the kind of meeting which gives one a sense of confidence in the processes of democracy.
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Yesterday, I was taken to Newark, New Jersey, to speak in the orientation course at the War Department's Office of Dependency Benefits. This office, during the war, had more than 10,000 employees and sent out the allotments and payments to all dependents of Army men. Now it is down to a little over 4,000 employees but it is still a big business undertaking, over which Col. Leonard H. Sims presides. Since he had charge of the finances for the D-Day invasion of Europe, I imagine this does not seem to him an overwhelming job.
As an outsider who has been familiar with the troubles and difficulties of people who did not get their allotments on time, or whose insurance was not being paid, etc., etc., I have a deep sense of the importance—to the dependents of our men in the service—of the work which is done in this Newark office.
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After my talk, I was whisked back to my apartment in New York, where a large group of Cuban ladies, who have been making a goodwill visit to this country, came to tell me about a new association of women which they have formed in Cuba. They are devoting themselves to helping the underprivileged in their country and to developing a good neighbor policy toward the United States and the other Americas.
When I caught my train back to Hyde Park, I was feeling a little breathless from my day, and it was certainly a joy to wake up in the country this morning.