NOVEMBER 29, 1954
HYDE PARK, Sunday—Thanksgiving Day was a happy family day for me, as I hope it was for all my readers. I was fortunate in having with me three of my sons and their wives. Mr. and Mrs. Matsumoto, who were so kind to me in Japan, also came for the day and night, and Mrs. Bell, my daughter-in-law's mother, was here from California. Four young children, two grandsons and several friends also helped to make up a large and gay party.
I went to church early in the morning and thought of all the things for which I could be thankful, both personally and as an American. Peace, of course, comes first. At the church, our special Thanksgiving Day collection this year was for the Bishop's fund for overseas relief. The rector read an editorial asking that our churches everywhere share the surpluses which people have in this country, not only with the needy of our own country but with those of other areas of the world where real famine exists.
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I read with regret on Friday of the death of Dr. Henry Sloane Coffin. I used to see him every now and then in years past when he was in New York, and I think anyone who knew him was impressed by his personality and admired his courage in often championing unpopular causes. He was one of the clergymen who stated that they considered McCarthyism a danger second only to Communism. It seems to me that he and the clergymen who joined with him are being proved more and more right every day, for nothing has played into the hands of the Communists so much as the blind fear of Communism which Senator McCarthy has spread throughout the land.
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It is a tragedy that William W. Remington should have been killed while serving in jail for perjury. His sentence was a short one, but it always is difficult to feel completely sure of the justice of sentences such as his, where the government's witnesses have been ex-Communists. In this case it was a woman, Judith Coplon, who seems to have had a very convenient memory.
Evidently, from what one reads, Remington was a rebel most of his life. Yet rebels have to exist in every society or there would be little progress. It is especially sad that Remington had to die the victim of a prison beating by two other inmates and leave his young wife and his children. He may well have done wrong. Most of us do at some time in our life. But I think many will wish that he had been able to live out his sentence and have a chance for another start and perhaps for a happier family life.
I wish we could dispense with the testimony of ex-Communists. One has a feeling so often that when they turn away from Communism and become informers against their former associates or acquaintances, they act with a kind of hatred that goes beyond normal bounds. It seems to symbolize the hatred they probably feel for their own mistakes, and this perhaps gives them a feeling that they are lessening their own guilt.