AUGUST 20, 1953
NEW YORK, Wednesday—One day last year I spoke at a high school that serves the South Orange-Maplewood, N.J., area. The boy who introduced me was a fine-looking lad named Peter A. Kasen.
This summer this same Peter Kasen went on a holiday and was climbing with some friends in Glacier National Park. During one of the hikes he fell 100 feet into a ravine and, because rescue equipment was not available, it was 12 hours before a force of 20 forest rangers and volunteers was able to carry him up the ravine. He was rushed to a hospital 80 miles away, but he died four hours later.
In his memory the townspeople and his schoolmates are establishing a fund called the Peter A. Kasen Memorial Fund. This money will provide a scholarship for a worthy student every year and it also will provide for some equipment in Glacier National Park.
There is no doubt that in our national parks where climbing is done all the equipment that the National Park Service can afford to furnish is available. Appropriations, however, are never too generous and the extra help to provide even better equipment will be much appreciated in Glacier National Park just as it would be in our other national parks.
Tragedies such as this are harder to accept because we need our fine young people so badly. Of course, losing one of their classmates has made the students of this particular school and the people of this particular neighborhood very conscious of the needs at Glacier National Park, but I can well imagine that there are other people whose youngsters will want to climb in Yellowstone or Yosemite and who also might want to be sure that not only the ordinary equipment but the best possible equipment is available in case of need for rescue work.
I have a telegram from Spyros Skouras, who has undertaken to raise funds to help the Greeks who have suffered so much from the earthquakes in the Ionian Islands. He says that the Greek Government is unable to meet these extraordinary expenses and that the people will suffer unless help comes from outside countries.
I am sure the people of the United States will give generously, for this is the kind of misfortune brought on by nature that no human foresight can prevent. There is nothing one can do but help to repair the damage as quickly as possible and give the poor people what relief is possible under the circumstances.
I was sent a very interesting account written by one of the guides at the United Nations, telling of the visit to the U.N. of four blind children of about 12 years old. It was delightfully told and I wish it could be read by every visitor to the U.N., for these blind children, by feeling with their hands, seemed to get a truer sense of the beauty and dignity of the building and furnishings than those of us who can see with our own eyes.