MAY 31, 1954
HYDE PARK, Sunday—Here we are at Memorial Day again, and once more we are decorating the graves of those who have died for their country.
In Hyde Park, we always have a ceremony in the Rose Garden in memory of my husband, and this year Mrs. Anna Rosenberg, former Assistant Secretary of Defense, gave the memorial address. She worked closely with my husband for many years in many capacities, helping him especially in the delicate area of understanding between employers and employees and increasing his knowledge of the labor leaders, many of whom she knew well before he did.
Sometimes I think that on Memorial Day we should think of the living as well as the dead, and do honor to those who have served the country well during periods of crisis and, thus, perhaps saved some lives that might have been lost in combat. Anna Rosenberg, through her work in the Government, not only helped to save the lives of our fighting men but made their lives easier and pleasanter.
She took many wearying and dangerous trips during World War II to see the conditions under which our men fought and what they had in the way of food and medical care and relaxation. And she was in charge of manpower in our defense planning during the Korean War. As we honor those who died, we should also think with gratitude of those who lived strenuously in order that more men might live during these dangerous periods of our history.
Today we are faced again with the danger of war. Some people feel that it is best to avoid war at any cost; others, that we should go forth and meet it because, in the long run, we would be better off that way. It is very difficult for those of us who are just plain citizens to judge the threats that surround us, because most of us do not know what the actual situations are nor what basic ways of treating them our leaders are planning.
On Memorial Day, however, when we consider the devotion given by citizens of the United States to the preservation of our country, I think it is well to think over what the values are which make us want to defend our country. I believe it has been the feeling of the people that we have gained freedom and justice, and so those are the things we must try to preserve to make worthwhile the sacrifices of those we honor today.
Can we keep the atmosphere created by Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin untarnished in the United States of today? That is the thought Memorial Day should bring to all of us, and that is the vow we should make as we visit the various cemeteries throughout the nation.