My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

NEW YORK, Monday—Up in Hyde Park and throughout Dutchess County the Girl Scouts and the Brownies are canvassing for contributions. So, on Sunday afternoon four small girls filed into my living room, accompanied by an older girl and her mother. After hesitating for some time, trying to find out which little girl was going "to speak her piece," when the choice was made she had to get help over the one long word. Finally, the sentence came out: "Please, Mrs. Roosevelt, will you give me a contribution to the Girl Scouts?"

I promised to give it but explained that I did not have either a checkbook or the money with me, but I would send it this week. Then they told me they had tried to find someone in my son's house with no success, so I escorted them over there and we found John and Anne and their whole family and the little scene was re-enacted. One of the other little girls tried to remember the long words and, also after being prompted, finally repeated the whole sentence, substituting "Mr." for "Mrs." John had a checkbook so he wrote the check for both of us, and I promised to repay him.

Then, bearing a check in their hands, they left with most triumphant expressions. I am told that this is a part of the regular work assigned to them and I am sure these very young emissaries will find few people able to withhold their gifts.

Later, I went to Poughkeepsie to meet with a group of teenage members of the "Y," both boys and girls, at their Thanksgiving celebration. I was asked to tell them why we, the citizens of the United States, should be thankful in this year of 1952.

I tried to tell them in how many ways we had been specially blessed, particularly since neither World War I nor World War II was fought on our own soil. This is one of the major reasons why we have become the strongest nation economically in the world, to which many other nations have had to turn for help.

I looked at these young faces and thought that some of the boys might soon be in the Army. And I thought how hard it might be on some of the girls who would be saying good-bye to brothers and friends.

Our young people are not prepared for these sacrifices, since they are very new sacrifices that they are now obliged to make. It has been bitterly hard for mothers, wives and sweethearts to accept the heavy burden that we carry in Korea. Yet, the mere fact that we have accepted the burdens and, along with many nations in the United Nations, have defeated aggression in Korea means that we are holding the line against communism, which probably has been a major factor in the prevention of World War III.

Some people write me that they consider World War III has already begun. They may be right, but if it should ever get in full swing it will be very different from what we are going through at present.

We still have much to be thankful for, and I hope the young people I talked to Sunday night will really be grateful and think of their country's position in the world as one of great opportunity as well as of grave responsibility.

E.R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL