MARCH 7, 1949
PORTLAND, Ore., Sunday—My day in Calgary began with a press conference and an official city luncheon. I then visited a veterans hospital where I saw Canadian soldiers who had fought in the Boer War, World War I and World War II.
What a stupidity it seems—this continuous maiming of human beings in war! I marvel always at the cheerfulness of the men. One really old man, who must have spent most of these last few years in hospitals, was busily making a beautiful leather briefcase by hand. One young man had a decorated cake in front of him, with one candle to celebrate one year in the hospital. Thank heaven, he will be going home soon!
From there we went to the crippled children's hospital, where much good work has been done in temporary quarters pending the completion of the new building. We then went back to the hotel to get ready for an early dinner, given by the B'nai B'rith organization. Here, as at lunch, I "said a few words," and I am glad of these opportunities to thank the people of Canada for being so warm in their welcome and for having expressed so often their feeling that my husband was to them a help and an inspiration during the war.
Calgary seems to be an up and coming city, and they are planning in two years to have a municipal auditorium. But Thursday night, as in Edmonton, I gave my address in the ice arena, and it was really a unique experience. The audience, of about 4,300 people, sat all around the rink. The stage—on which about 12 of us were seated, and from which I spoke—was raised above the ice, and we reached it by walking across the ice on a carpet. It was distinctly cold, so I kept my fur coat on. Looking across the ice toward the part of my audience which I could see, I felt a little sorry for those who sat behind me and I wondered how well they could hear. Everyone stayed until the end, however, and listened attentively, so it must have been a satisfactory arrangement, curious as it seemed to me. At the very end, a little girl about five years old, bearing a large bouquet, walked across the rink on the carpet all by herself and presented me with a lovely bunch of roses, not forgetting the appropriate words. I was impressed by her composure and obedience to directions in the vast and rather chilly spot.
Our plane Friday morning was two hours late in arriving in Vancouver, so we had a chance to sleep a little longer. It also meant that we were two hours late getting started on our schedule after being met there by the Mayor, our own American consul, Mr. Kleiforth, and our sponsor of the lecture there, Mr. Barker, of the Optimist Club.