SEPTEMBER 13, 1951
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—On Monday I spent the day in New York City primarily to attend the ceremonies of the recommissioning of the U.S.S. Wasp. My youngest son and his wife were able to be with me and we relived in memory the day of the first commissioning when his wife and I had heavy hearts. I was interested in the historical sketch of the many Wasps whose tradition has been carried on since the early days of our Navy.
I have heard my son, John, tell many of the experiences in the Pacific that followed the first commissioning of the Wasp in 1943. John was on board when she went out on her shakedown trial and he was with her until he was transferred to the Hornet. He only left the Hornet when she came back to San Francisco with a bow so twisted that one wondered how she had been able to navigate.
A history could be written about every one of the ships in our Navy, and there must be many a boy who, if he had the gift, could write an enthralling tale of personal experiences.
Each time the Wasp, which is now enlarged and modernized, launched her planes and brought them in again was in itself a thrilling experience. From the time the planes leave a carrier until they are safely landed back, there is never a moment that the crew on the flight deck is not anxiously on the alert.
All the ships in the Navy, whether they are submarines or aircraft carriers, have their dramatic moments, and I always am deeply interested in hearing my sons tell of things their men accomplished at one time or another. War is a terrible thing, but it builds up a kind of comradeship that is difficult to create under any other circumstances. The pleasure my son felt in seeing old shipmates and the stories they recalled seemed to me an indication that the everyday relationships in business, for instance, do not build up the same loyalty and closeness of contact that the months lived in the service together leave behind.
We drove to Hyde Park with my son, Elliott, rather late in the afternoon, bringing two guests home with us for the night. One of them, Mr. Mark McCloskey, is just back from a trip around the world, and, considering the rapidity with which he glimpsed a number of places, I thought he had used his highly developed power of observation remarkably well. He concentrated on seamen's services and education and the men who develop them in the different countries he visited, and I am sure his experiences will bear good fruit as he imparts them to others.
I met a group of the women members of the International Congress of Pure and Applied Chemistry, which was meeting in New York City, over at the library the other day. There were delegates from many different countries and I think it must be extraordinarily helpful in any scientific research to bring together people from so many different nations.