JANUARY 7, 1944
NEW YORK, Thursday—To go back to my diary, on Monday evening I spoke at the Institute of Arts and Sciences at Columbia University, and I feel that I owe a vote of thanks to the people who braved the bad weather to come out to that opening meeting.
Tuesday at noon I spoke for the Cosmopolitan Club, and that afternoon I went out to Westport, Conn., to speak in a movie house and to show my films. I returned on Wednesday after going to the school in the morning, to talk to the children. Today I am speaking at noon and showing my film of my Southwest Pacific trip at a meeting of the Rotary Club.
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A letter came to me the other day which unfortunately bears no address. As I should like to answer it, I will have to print it here. It reads:
"Our favorite nephew enlisted in the Navy shortly after Pearl Harbor, falling victim to the war hysteria and feeling it was his patriotic duty to come to the defense of his country.
"His mother has been notified by the U.S. Navy that he has been killed in action. My sister is now bereft of all she has to care for in this world and she is inconsolable. There is really nothing we can say to her that will assuage her grief. It seems so unjust that the wicked people who brought on this war should suffer no such loss as she has suffered and should go unpunished by God.
"It is too bad that you and your husband have not been punished by some deadly disease. Maybe though, you and your husband will have to look into the faces of the dead corpses of your four sons. God always punishes the wicked in some way."
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I should like to say to the woman who wrote this letter that I quite understand her bitterness. Neither my husband nor I brought on this war. It was brought on by many things beyond the control of any individual. We hope with all our hearts that the citizens of the world will learn from past mistakes and that together we may build a better foundation for peace in the future. The loss of a child is a terrible blow and one cannot blame a mother for being inconsolable. One can only hope that in time pride in her son will bring her some consolation.
Peace will not be built, however, by people with bitterness in their hearts. The boys who died in this war have given all they had to give to their country. The only way that any families can be reconciled to the sacrifices made is for them to feel they are making the greatest contribution to the country of which they are capable, and that, by so doing, they are accomplishing the things for which their boys died, namely, peace on earth, goodwill toward men. This may help the world to keep other boys from having to sacrifice their lives in the future.