JUNE 4, 1962
ATLANTA—The Memorial Day service in the Rose Garden at Hyde Park this year was attended by Mayor and Mrs. Robert F. Wagner of New York City, and the Mayor gave the memorial address. It was a beautiful day, and I thought the simplicity and dignity of the ceremony was, as usual, very impressive.
The American Legion Post carried out its touching Memorial Day activities and I met the veterans when they laid a wreath on my husband's grave at 8:45 in the morning. However, I was not able to watch the parade, which is always a joy to all the youngsters in the village of Hyde Park. This procession ends with a ceremony at the Town Hall which does much, I think, to keep in the minds of our young people the solemnity of the day.
As I walked through the churchyard in the early morning seeing the flags on the graves of the veterans and the flowers placed by innumerable people on the graves of their loved ones, I could not help thinking of the meaning which lay behind each one of the lives represented today only by a stone in the churchyard. In a far wider sense, probably, these lives are more truly represented by the influence left on those they immediately touched and who continue to spread the result of that influence from generation to generation.
A human life is like a candle. It is lit when a baby is born. It reaches out perhaps at first only in the effect even a very tiny life can have on the immediate family. But with every year of growth the light grows stronger and spreads farther. Sometimes it has to struggle for brightness, but sometimes the inner light is strong and bright from the very beginning and grows with the years.
None of us knows how far it reaches but I am quite sure that even a young life that is not allowed to grow to maturity has left behind it influences for good which will grow and broaden as those who touched this life grow themselves.
The great people of the world spread the major light. They leave behind then accomplishments which touch the lives of thousands, perhaps even millions, of people. But they are strengthened by all the little lights and perhaps could never have accomplished their great ends without the little lights which reached out and inspired them in their own particular circle.
On every Memorial Day, therefore, let us always be in our hearts thankful for those we have been privileged to know who may have gone before us and let us guard the light which they have kindled.
The other evening I attended a very interesting concert given by the Junior High Schools of the City of New York in Carnegie Hall. Mr. Isaac Stern was so enthusiastic about the evident development of a love for music in these teen-agers that he promised them, then and there, that Carnegie Hall would be at their disposal every year for their concerts. It was indeed a great occasion and I think that those who direct these young people have every right to be extremely proud.
I have been asked by the Refrigeration Engineers Society to bring their theme, which is "Save A Child's Life," to the attention of those who read my column. Since I have mentioned the teen-agers today, I think this particular request, which deals with very much smaller children whose safety is important, should be brought to our attention.
This body of engineers has issued a poster which says: "Save A Child's Life! Remove Doors From Abandoned Refrigerators." The poster informs the public that if they cannot do it themselves they can call their refrigeration wholesaler and any member of the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society will remove the doors without cost.
I had not realized that this was a really dangerous thing, but since this group has taken the trouble to put on a campaign I imagine that more youngsters than I have heard about have met death by shutting themselves into abandoned refrigerators.
Our modern equipment certainly adds to the dangers of everyone's life!
It was horrible to read of four window washers who plunged to their death from a high building in New York City, because of the defects in their safety equipment. Now when four people have paid with their lives there is a demand to examine all this equipment, but no amount of action now will bring back the lives that were lost. We can only hope it will spare future lives, and we should try with all our modern equipment to see that the safeguards are inspected and companies required to enforce safety legislation.