JUNE 4, 1957
NEW YORK—A bill, HR 53, that has been passed by the House and approved by the Senate Finance Committee in Washington contains a restriction which I feel will work great hardships on some widows of veterans.
The legislation, which seems assured of final passage by the Senate, would consolidate in one act all of the Veterans Administration laws relating to compensation for service-connected disabilities, pension for nonservice-connected disabilities, administration, hospitalization and burial benefits.
Its restrictions, however, pertain to benefits to veterans' widows who may have remarried but who are entitled to them if they have been divorced through no fault of their own. It applies to widows of Civil War and Spanish-American War veterans who, of course, are fairly old now.
Previously, this restriction applied only to widows of World War I and subseqent wars, but under this bill it would reach back to the older ones who are in no condition to adjust to this change.
Memorial Day ceremonies at Hyde Park, where my husband is buried, were particularly interesting this year.
Senator Richard Neuberger of Oregon stressed the value of the work done by my husband in conservation and mentioned many things done at that time whose values have continued to live.
Thomas Finletter's talk stressed the foreign aspects of my husband's Administration, their effects on nations' attitudes toward each other and the importance of the United Nations to us today. And finally, Edward G. Robinson spoke of Franklin D. Roosevelt's interest in people. I think Mr. Robinson touched the hearts of his audience more than anyone who has ever spoken there. His speech was poetic and moving.
I enjoyed very much my luncheon guests and appreciated the presence of Mr. and Mrs. Isador Lubin to represent the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis. I also particularly appreciated Bernard Baruch's thoughtfulness in sending a wreath, since he could not be there himself.
Our neighbors came to the rose garden in fairly large numbers, and though we had only the speakers and a few other guests for luncheon, the Roosevelt Home Club members and a few more guests joined us after the ceremonies for tea.
I think Senator Neuberger particularly enjoyed going through the Memorial Library with Herman Kahn, the director. He was able to spend some time there, saying later that he found much of interest and learned a great deal.
Our tea party at the end of the afternoon developed into a symposium on medical research, for with us was Mrs. Mary Lasker, whom I soon found surrounded by Dr. and Mrs. James Halsted, my son-in-law and daughter; Senator and Mrs. Neuberger, who are interested in medical research, and a delightful and well-known doctor friend of theirs and his wife from California. All of them bemoaned the lack of funds on the national and state levels for more medical research.
After Anna and Jim Halsted left me Saturday at Hyde Park I was visited by the head of the Israeli United Nations association who spent the afternoon in the library and went back to New York with me on Sunday. And on Saturday evening Governor Hisamatsu of Ehime Ken Prefecture, Japan, and his interpreter, Y. Kawomoto, dined with me and stayed overnight.
On my return to New York Sunday I stopped in New Jersey for ceremonies opening the Bible Gardens of Israel at Woodbridge. I unveiled a 12-foot-high bas relief mat-portrait of the Holy Land in Biblical times.
These gardens are an important project that will make Bible stories more real for children, for the sponsors plan to grow there the trees and flowers of the Holy Land.