SEPTEMBER 20, 1948
EN ROUTE TO PARIS, Sunday—We often think of the central part of our country as an area in which it is difficult to awaken interest in what is going on in the rest of the world. Every now and then, however, something happens which makes us realize that it is dangerous to generalize, for one individual may change the interest of a community.
Will Rogers was a native of Oklahoma. Oklahomans were proud of him and loved him, but he was also a native of the world. Not only the people of this country, but the people of other countries came to appreciate his humor, his complete naturalness and a human touch which was universal and which gave him friends everywhere.
Today an Oklahoma committee in Enid, Oklahoma, dedicates a train which will be known as the Will Rogers Memorial Train. The people hoped that there might be more than 60 carloads of food in this train. Wheat is the principal crop in western Oklahoma and in the Texas panhandle, and the people of this area are giving of their plenty in a spirit of sincere friendship and world brotherhood. This food they hope may save helpless people who are hungry in other parts of the world.
The people of Oklahoma realized long ago that a government program, no matter how comprehensive, not only could not fill material needs, but would fall short in one other respect. It would not reach from one group of individuals direct to another group of individuals. Already in 1946, several carloads of food went from Oklahoma overseas, and in 1947, under the sponsorship of Church World Service, a statewide Oklahoma Wheat for Relief Committee was formed which sent out of the winter wheat belt almost 100 cars to famine areas, besides helping on the famous Friendship Train, for which it organized a special wheat belt section.
Now there has been a reorganization, and Church World Service, which represents many Protestant denominations, has joined with the Lutheran War Relief and with the Catholic Rural Life Council to form the Christian Rural Overseas Program. Appropriately enough, the initials of their name spell the word "Crop," and it is their crop which is going to bring relief to the needy in many parts of the world. This is a collecting agency within the United States for "all gifts in kind from American farmers for overseas relief and rehabilitation."
On the Will Rogers Memorial Train there may be gifts of other commodities besides wheat, though that will be the main one. Other states are following the example of Enid, Oklahoma. Congratulations and good wishes go to this group, and may many people throughout the world be grateful for the help which will come to them.