JULY 26, 1950
NANTUCKET, Mass., Tuesday—There is a man called Frank A. Kelly, a veteran of the Marine Corps who was totally blinded at Okinowa, who has started an association of American war blinded veterans. He is the national director of this organization; the president is a former Navy man, Gene G. Gilmartin. They are forming a committee to help them with the raising of funds for a project which seems a pretty ambitious one, but which is also a very appealing one.
They want to erect a garden apartment type of development where war blinded veterans can live together. They and their families have special problems which they feel can be better met in a building development planned for them.
They are asking veterans of World War I or II who happen to be architects to submit suggestions to fit their specifications. They want recreation available on the premises such for instance, as a swimming pool and a bowling alley.
They also think there should be a rehabilitation center in the grounds, so that men who have not been retrained for a job can receive their training near their home. This particular idea might be a little difficult to accomplish because retraining of handicapped people, blind or otherwise, is such a specialized technique that I am afraid it may not be possible to establish an adequate center in this type of development. Whether I am right or wrong about this it is a question which should be discussed by the architects and the representatives of the organization with the best qualified doctors.
I think everyone will be sympathetic and eager to help in promoting the whole idea.
While I am talking of veterans' organizations I think I should mention the Blue and Gray Association, Inc. This Association exists to cement goodwill between the North and the South.
This will be the thirteenth year of their annual Blue and Gray championship football game, which takes place in Montgomery, Alabama, during Christmas week on the last Saturday of each year. Over two hundred members of Congress are members of the Blue and Gray Association. This year the Veterans of Foreign Wars of Pennsylvania have agreed to attend the game, bringing with them their championship Fife and Drum Corps. They propose now to erect not only a football stadium but a real shrine to the wearers of the Blue and Gray in the Civil War.
I am sure, regardless of where we live, we will be interested in the achievements of this effort to draw together the people of our country, who once fought each other, so that they may develop mutual understanding and respect.
Of course, this organization functions all the year around and I should think it might be particularly valuable in Congress in trying to eliminate such difficulties as freight rate differentials which have been a handicap to the South.