MARCH 26, 1949
HYDE PARK, Friday—In Washington Wednesday evening at Bess Furman Armstrong's house, with a number of her other friends, we were treated to some movies shown by her husband. Most of us present figured in the movies, but as they were taken in the early days of my husband's Administration—1933 to 1935—I, for one, felt that the pictures belonged to another world. While the years have dealt kindly with many of us, seeing these pictures was a reminder that many years have passed.
It was interesting to be in Washington for a few hours and to hear some of the talk, which one can hear nowhere else.
To some people the present 81st Congress seems not to be building up a very much better record than the 80th Congress. I heard only one note of approval from someone who had listened to a few of the younger Congressmen, who are veterans of the last war and who had the courage to get up and oppose the Rankin pension bill.
Apparently the majority of the members, when they were not called upon to be counted individually, were opposed. On the roll call, however, they didn't quite have the courage to vote as they actually believed.
I doubt if anyone in this country feels that a veteran, who was wounded or disabled in any war, should be denied anything that the country could possibly give him. I think also that the G.I. Bill of Rights, which gave an opportunity for education to the men who served in the war, was one of the finest things and one of the fairest things that this country could have done.
It seems to me, however, that pensions should be under the authority of the Social Security Administration and should be given to all people alike. Hospitalization and medical care needed by a veteran as a result of his service should never be questioned.
I think there always will be a deep gratitude in the hearts of all our people which will go out to all of the veterans who actually fought overseas and will make us, as individuals, want to give a special amount of consideration to a veteran needing a helping hand. Veterans, however, are, after all, citizens of this country, and a bill that would cost the country as much as the Rankin proposal would hurt them as much as it would hurt anyone else.
Once a soldier is again a part of the community, the welfare of the community as a whole is what is important to him and to his family. A great number of those who fought in World War I and World War II feel strongly the need to care for the disabled and his family. They want to see the veteran given a chance to return to civilian life and receive a fair deal in education, housing and the chance at a job, so that he is not handicapped but benefitted by his war service. But the majority resents such a bill as put forth by Rep. John E. Rankin, for now they are citizens and conscious that the good of the whole community serves them best.
Our congratulations go to the young veterans in Congress who opposed this bill so courageously on the floor of the House. The citizens of this country are indebted to them!