MAY 30, 1955
HYDE PARK—One is apt to think of Memorial Day first as a holiday until one stops to realize the deep meaning of the day.
This is a day when all of us are reminded of the men, and of the women, who have died for their country. There are parades and graves are decorated, and here at Hyde Park we will hold a memorial service, which takes place annually in the rose garden near my husband's grave. It is a service not only in his memory but in memory of all our citizens whom we remember with affection and gratitude for what they have done for us in building our nation, in protecting it and in giving us a tradition of service that spurs us on to keep this nation in line with the highest ideals of those who founded it.
On Saturday of last week I went to Boston to attend a Unitarian Service Committee meeting and I could not help thinking that the people who do the work of this group live in much the same spirit which our forefathers hoped we would develop in this country among our citizens generally.
The Unitarian Service Committee gives money and sends people to carry on projects for helping the standard of living of people throughout the world. Like the American Friends Service Committee, these are pilot projects, undertaken at the requests of the governments in needy areas of the world. But more than just money is given. The representatives of both these groups know that one important thing is to give people the understanding of the importance of human beings and of their dignity and having done that you can then help them to help themselves.
This spiritual attitude toward humanity was one of the motivating forces in the establishment of our own country. Our ancestors came here because they felt they were not free to worship as they wanted. In other words, they could not develop their full personalities in the environment of the Old World. They were willing to take great risks in developing an area of the world they knew comparatively little about in order to be free and have the opportunity for the development of the human spirit.
They succeeded remarkably well in a material way, and on Memorial Day I think all of us should think of the spiritual meaning of the success which has come to our country and how we can pass on to others throughout the world some of the things we have learned which have helped us to become strong in many ways.
As we attend our services on Memorial Day and watch our parades and cheer both old and young and think of those whose service has come to an end but who still live in our memories, let us make a pledge to keep this spirit of our forefathers alive in this land and to spread that spirit through what we do in other lands.