MAY 3, 1947
HYDE PARK, Friday—I have just received a final report on the Recreation Services, Inc., which were operated for the War Hospitality Committee in Washington, D. C. It makes an impressive record of achievement.
Now that these services everywhere, both at home and abroad, are gradually closing their doors, I think we should give them a warm vote of thanks. They did much for the men who were going overseas, or who were on their way home on furlough, or who were stationed here or there and had a few days off.
As we close this part of the war work with gratitude to the men and women who worked unselfishly and efficiently for such a long time, I hope we will undertake new enterprises of this kind, for all over the country there are hospitals where men are still undergoing treatment as a result of the war. They need all of the things that were done for the men during the war, and perhaps a little more because most of them face long periods of treatment without much chance meanwhile of returning to a normal existence and earning a living. Some of them face spending the rest of their lives within the walls of a veterans' hospital.
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I know that after World War I many of us meant not to forget, but little by little we did forget, and many a veterans' hospital had very little outside attention between the two world wars. Now we face that same situation again and there is only one way to prevent forgetfulness—that is for organizations to start immediately and keep on going without a break.
I have been asked to go on Sunday afternoon to the Castle Point veterans' hospital near Fishkill, N.Y., where the Ladies Auxiliary to the Free Sons of Israel Post 221, J.W.V., is coming with a professional entertainment for the men. It really ought to be a pooling of resources from many small towns and villages in this area, with a regular weekly plan which would never leave the men without a sense that the outside world remembers them. Perhaps this has already been done in the case of Castle Point, but it should be done wherever we have a hospital in which veterans of the first World War or any other war still survive.
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In one of our big magazines, I read a most delightful article by a lady who told how she had wanted to live on a farm and write. She astounded the real-estate agent by falling in love with the first farm he showed her, because the house was old and there was a brook. The only thing she had asked for in addition was that there should be electricity. There was none but, though that was the one really practical thing she wanted, she waved it aside and gave it up without a thought.
Then the farm took possession of her. She had bought it only to live on, but instead the farm made her a farmer. I wish she had told more of the vicissitudes, which I am sure were many and strenuous. But at least she was honest for she ended by saying that all you have to do is to buy a farm and you will be a farmer—but you will probably not write!