NOVEMBER 29, 1958
HYDE PARK—I do not want the Thanksgiving Day week to pass without commenting on the meaning of this truly American family day. For without doing so would seem to indicate that many of us feel that there is not a great deal to be thankful for this year.
If to some extent this might be the case, this nevertheless is a time when we should consider our blessings, for we in this country are greatly blessed. We have a rich country which can afford to care for those who are not able to care for themselves. Much of this is done through government and much of it through private organizations.
If we paid more attention to governmental functions, we probably could do even more with our tax money. But the fact that we are able to provide this care at all should be a matter for much gratitude.
One thing for which we are not thankful is for the division which exists in our hearts and minds on the treatment of minorities. Hate has been engendered among our own people, and in certain parts of our country we apparently have not been able to put across a certain point, namely, that our great struggle is the one between non-Communist and Communist nations and this struggle should overshadow all other differences.
If we in the non-Communist nations do not show that it is possible for all races and creeds to live peacefully together and attain equal development when given equal opportunity, then we are practically turning over to the Communists a large area of the world which in the future may be a threat to our own freedom.
The fact that this has not yet been understood throughout our country is one of the truly sad things that may rightfully disturb us at this Thanksgiving season. We can be thankful, however, that we still have the chance to grow in comprehension and understanding.
All of us who have family and friends with us at this season should be grateful, too, for the human relationships that make any family celebration a joyous time.
I personally was glad that I could draw into my own family circle some of those who had been kind in welcoming me in distant countries. At our family Thanksgiving dinner we had the pleasure of the company of Rajkumari Amrit Kaur of India, and Miss Christine Lovett of Nottingham, England, who is traveling in this country on a Roosevelt scholarship, the money for which is raised in Nottingham every year.
To them, the meaning of our American Thanksgiving had to be explained. But then I think they understood well, for other nations have at different times of the year holidays of family ingathering, and those holidays also are distinguished by heightened good feeling and the basic wish that the world may be a better and happier place in which to live.