DECEMBER 27, 1948
HYDE PARK, Sunday—There is always a certain degree of letdown the day after Christmas. All the presents have been opened and the excitement of the children is past. Then comes the putting to use of their various gifts. If the family is very patient, they will probably find themselves constructing all kinds of toys which are made ostensibly for children but which usually require an adult's aid before the children can master them.
Occasional flurries of snow in our area on Christmas Day made possible the use of skis which had been acquired as gifts. These give a great deal of pleasure to the youngsters, though they also give the adults in the family a certain amount of anxiety.
In this morning's paper I read of one gift that is real Christmas giving in the sense that it will give pleasure and interest to many, and also be of great spiritual value, I believe, to a great number of young people for a long time. That is Myron Taylor's gift to Cornell University for an Inter-Faith Hall as a World War II memorial, named after his wife. It is appropriate to have this gift associated with the Christmas season—a perfectly unselfish one. That is what Christmas giving should mean, but so often we forget its true significance.
Mr. Taylor's gift should help to train many young people in the value of understanding the numerous faiths by which men live. I am sure that it is vastly important to the young people of today to recapture some of that simple faith of their forefathers which characterized the early expression of faith in our nation. We must have greater tolerance and understanding of other faiths and other customs, because the world has grown smaller and we live closer together. We cannot escape a rubbing of elbows which, of course, was unnecessary for our forefathers. They could seek faraway places in which they would not be disturbed by others who held different beliefs and followed different customs.
That is impossible for us today, and so we must learn, while holding our beliefs and living by them, to understand those of other people and to allow them to live in equal freedom in close association with ourselves. That is why this gift of an Inter-Faith House to be built at Cornell has a very deep meaning for the young people who spend such formative years of their lives in this great institution of our state.