NOVEMBER 25, 1954
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—This is a happy Thanksgiving Day for me because I have my son, Elliott, and his wife, Minnewa, and her mother, Mrs. Bell, here; some delightful and kind friends from Japan, Mr. and Mrs. Shigeharu Matsumoto; and my nearby family, Franklin Jr. and John, and their families as well as a few other friends.
Thanksgiving Day is a day for bringing together families and friends. Historically, our New England ancestors established today as a day of thankfulness for having reaped a harvest which would feed them during the coming year and for having been saved from hostile Indians and many evils during the year past.
Nowadays, I believe we should go to church and think over quietly the blessings we have, both as a nation and as individuals. It will make our Thanksgiving dinner and our reunion with friends and family much more meaningful, if, quietly in our own minds, we have gone over our various reasons for thankfulness, and have expressed our gratitude to God.
As a nation we are strong and prosperous, but we still have much to do to bring about the well-being we desire for everyone in our country. We have set our standards very high and we hope to be able to live up to them. That will take real work on our part and dedication to the processes of democracy, which are slow, but the goals can be reached if we, as individuals, work for them with our whole hearts.
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I want to see better health services available to all in the future. I want to see better recreation services for young and old. I want to see greater recognition of all the creative arts and participation in the arts and crafts purely for the joy of making something with our own hands.
I hope we will improve our educational system and see in time that every child or young person who is mentally equipped to take higher education is not barred from it because of any economic disability. I hope that we will vastly improve our services to the handicapped, to retarded children, and to all in need of help.
Our education, it seems to me, should help our young people to take a real interest in the world as a whole and should assure that, in the future, services from trained youth in this country may play a part in the world development which will probably come about in the next 25 years. Many countries have never been through the experiences we have been through. They have not had an industrial revolution. They know little or nothing about machines and yet machines will soon change their lives, and we may be very useful in guiding and aiding these changes.
Let us be grateful this Thanksgiving Day for all that we have and all that we are, but let us not be complacent. Let us go forward with the courage of our ancestors into an atomic era which will challenge our greatest abilities.