AUGUST 28, 1951
HYDE PARK, Monday—I have a letter from a woman who feels that the public is neglecting our hospitalized veterans. She says the American Legion, the AMVETS, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and all the other veterans' organizations do a really good job, but she thinks there is need for civilians to show their interest, too.
It is not right, she goes on, to leave it all to the professions. Therefore, she is asking the charitable organizations and civic groups to which she belongs to form a veterans' committee and to designate one day a month on which they will collect such things as shirts, socks, pajamas, shaving and dental supplies, games, or anything else that they might take to their own sons if they were in a hospital.
Then she also suggests that all those interested give one day a month to going to the hospital and arranging games and entertainment for the men. She feels that if this could be done in the neighborhood near any veterans' hospital it would add greatly to the comfort and pleasure of the patients and mean a great deal also to the people who did the work.
I bring this up at the present time because ever since World War I, I have been reminded how quickly everybody seems to forget the veteran. Almost without exception he gets a great deal of attention for a short time and then slips out of people's minds.
I have been hearing from friends of mine about the Todd Memorial Sanctuary at Hog Island, Maine. This enterprise is owned and run by the National Audubon Society, which was founded in 1905 and is the oldest and largest conservation organization in the United States. The major purpose of this society is to advance public understanding of the value and need of conservation of soil, water, plants, and wildlife and the relation of their intelligent treatment and wise use to human welfare. The society receives no government funds and is supported by membership dues, contributions and bequests, and has a budget of $500,000 a year.
Hog Island is only one of four Audubon camps where teachers and other youth leaders come in great numbers with Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Camp Fire Girls to learn about nature. These camps are more than natural history schools and stimulants and hobbies and professions. They are designed to build gradually the majority of public opinion so that it will favor intelligent treatment and wise use of our natural resources. This training should be a part of everybody's education, but too many teachers never have an opportunity to learn about this side of life.
The Audubon Society found that it needed some trained leaders for their junior clubs. More than 8,500,000 American and Canadian youngsters have become members of these clubs, which are important, for they are training young people to be aware of conservation. When they meet these questions as mature citizens they will take a real interest in solving them along the best possible lines.
The Audubon Society also furnishes lecturers and colored motion pictures which, while primarily for entertainment purposes, nevertheless put across the idea of conservation. It also conducts wildlife tours on which people are taken through our national parks, forests and Federal and state sanctuary areas. All of this is an effort to make us realize what an important part conservation plays in our daily lives.