MAY 30, 1960
HYDE PARK—Memorial Day is with us again and there is very little that will be done on this day that will not remind us of the sacrifices our forefathers made for our land. And there is very little that will not remind us of our own obligation at this moment of crisis to remember those sacrifices and to act in the same spirit of patriotism that our forefathers did.
People are prone to say that our country is fully developed; that there is no opportunity for new things to be done. In reality, there never was a time when new thinking was more needed. There never was a time when it was more important that we dedicate ourselves to the service of our country.
This service may lead us into far corners of the world, but the struggle for survival means an understanding on the part of our people that we have to serve the world in which we live. There is need today to think of our own interests in the context of the world's interest. There is need to realize that what happens to people everywhere has an effect on us at home.
The first great human right to most of the people of the world is the right to eat. We have been blessed by the Almighty with a land that provides us with a surplus of food and yet we have not learned how to share this surplus with the people of the world.
There are openings all over the world today for our young people—if they are properly prepared—to help develop the countries of the world that are just gaining their freedom. These countries need technicians of every kind; they need people who understand the setting up of governments; they need people to fill subordinate positions in the new civil services that have to be built up. Our young people are free to go to serve—but not to dominate—and they can prove by the quality of their service the value of our way of life.
All these services, of course, may not fall into the same category as the services of those whom we commerate on Memorial Day, because many of our forefathers had to die for their country. But I have said before that it might well be that we must put our minds on how to live for our nation.
It seems to me that on this day we must remind our people and the people of the world that to talk of war is futile. No one can win a war. We can all lose our lives and our civilization.
So, the greatest patriotic service we can render today is to work against war. And if some feel that to work against war is a too-negative approach, then our work must be to work for peace. We must be careful to study what brings peace to the world; we must study what builds confidence, without which there can be no peace, and on these things we must set ourselves to work.
To me this is the message of Memorial Day. Our forefathers met the obligations of their day. We must meet the new obligations that face us in our day.