DECEMBER 15, 1950
NEW YORK, Thursday—I have a number of requests to make mention of various good works. One of them appeals to me very much. The American Friends of Austrian Children tell me they have received $96,000 worth of United States surplus cheese, eggs and milk powder which can go to Vienna from New York City if they can pay the freight. Therefore, they have organized a Christmas sale to be held at the Hotel Buckingham, here, from December 6 to December 31. They have many interesting things on sale and I am sure there are many people who are pondering what they can get for some special gift this Christmas. I am happy to make the suggestion that this sale might be the place to find just what you need for a special person.
While you are thinking about Christmas gifts, there is a very interesting new album for your record collection that should contribute to an understanding of our way of life. On these recordings you will actually hear the voices of William Jennings Bryan, William Howard Taft, Thomas Alva Edison, Admiral Robert E. Peary, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Amelia Earhart, Will Rogers, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman and others. The collection is called "The Voices of Freedom," and the narration is done by Robert McCormick, NBC news commentator. The period covered is from 1901 to the present, so it should give young and old a picture of our United States during the past 50 years.
The Christmas spirit seems to have captured all of New York. As I drove home the other night from a reception given by the permanent delegate from the Netherlands to the United Nations, I saw the Christmas trees all lighted up on Park Avenue. Each one has a star at the very top and it really is a lovely sight.
And after dinner the other night I went over and walked around Rockefeller Plaza. They have a new touch this year—a ceiling of stars that sparkles over your head as you walk toward the great tree which is ablaze with lights. If you listen closely you may even hear the voices singing Christmas carols. I heard the great bell toll at 11 p.m. as I stood looking at the tree and it reminded me of the Big Ben in London.
But a horrible thought comes to one that all this—which speaks of a stable and permanent society, where the birth of the Christ Child can be celebrated with joy and the voices of the angels sing of peace and goodwill on earth—is really at the moment on a very precarious basis. Our major difficulties seem to be with a nation for whose leaders the Christ Child has no meaning. Since so much of our security is based on striving for those things that stem from a religious belief, it is doubly hard to find a way to gain an understanding with a nation that has set up the state in the place of a religion.