My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

NEW YORK, Sunday—On Thursday I went to the dinner given by the American Association for the United Nations in honor of Secretary-General Trygve Lie, who received the award this year for "courageous leadership and distinguished service in furthering the ideals of the United Nations."

Anyone who has come in contact with Mr. Lie feels his deep devotion to the organization. A patriot devoted to his own country, he yet feels strongly that the United Nations is the organization through which all countries can work for world peace, and that it is only as we work together that our own countries can possibly hope to be saved in this period of manifold difficulties. I think he has achieved a sense of greater loyalty to the organization than to any individual country, even his own. That is the ideal, of course, which all the people who work in the United Nations strive to achieve. One need not give up one's love for one's own country; but one's loyalty to the United Nations must come first, because it is through that organization that our own countries must ultimately hope for peace and security.

It is not always easy for men to feel this depth of loyalty to an organization and not to a country. But it is what we must all try for in the present situation, since on our attitude, I think, depends the ultimate ability of the United Nations to serve all nations, large and small.

I thought the cover of the program at the dinner for Mr. Lie was very clever. It showed a tree grown up at Lake Success and from its branches sprouted leaves bearing the names of the various activities, while Mr. Lie, a sturdy farmer in overalls, with a water hose in his hand and a large farmer's straw hat to protect him from the sun, poured a steady flow of water on a cat and a dog who looked anything but peacefully at each other!

Friday night I spoke in my own neighborhood of Greenwich Village at the Literary Forum on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. On Saturday there were no meetings at Lake Success, but I had given up going to Hyde Park because in the evening I had promised to speak for the American Federation of the Physically Handicapped. This organization is trying to awaken people to the need to open avenues of employment to the handicapped, many of whom can be employed more profitably than those without physical handicaps. But employers are often frightened by what they think is going to be a liability, and highly-trained people, who need only a little thought on the part of an industrial manager, are kept out of a job because of a prejudice.

Many physically handicapped people, too, in overcoming their handicap and becoming skilled in some form of work, discipline themselves so well that their characters benefit by the fight they have had to put up in order to meet the world and overcome difficulties. If employers only knew it, they are often getting something more priceless even than the skills of trained employees, for a man of character, who has learned to live uncomplainingly and give the best that he has with courage, may bring into the lives of his fellow workers an intangible value that will have very tangible results.

E. R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL