APRIL 7, 1943
SAN FRANCISCO, Tuesday —I did not tell you of a ceremony in Seattle on Saturday afternoon which I thought was beautifully carried out and very impressive. I was particularly happy to play a small part in it.
The ceremony was in honor of a young corporal and four soldiers. They had been on their way to a boxing match, when they suddenly noticed a bomber plane overhead in difficulty. They stopped their truck and got out as the plane crashed on a neighboring factory. The corporal ordered his men to go over immediately to see what help they could render. He found a telephone, notified the fire department and the police, and dashed over himself to help. These boys were able to save a number of lives and acted with great heroism. Their citations were very moving and I was glad to pin on the Soldier's medal, which was given to them all.
A little after 9:00 o'clock Monday morning we were met in Portland, Ore., by Mr. Henry J. Kaiser and his son Mr. Edgar Kaiser. A group of young Democrats presented me with a lovely bunch of red roses at the airport and then we were whisked off for a busy day.
Our first tour was in the Kaiser shipyard itself. It is certainly busy and businesslike. Everything seems to be in place and moving as quickly as possible along a regular line of production. I was particularly interested in the housing, so I was shown the dormitories and then the hospital, which is run on a species of health cooperative basis costing the employees seven cents a day. It looked to me very well equipped and much used, but I was told there were few accidents in the shipyards owing to safety devices. The men come in for medical care and some surgery and their families are also cared for.
Then we saw the large housing developments, which are as yet only partially finished and have no landscaping, so it is hard to judge what they will be like when paths are laid and grass is growing around them. This defense housing is built to last from five to seven years, and there is a clause which says it shall be removed at the end of a stated time.
I think it will be entirely adequate for the emergency and I was glad to know that schools and hospitals are being built in connection with the whole development, because with such an influx of people it would be quite impossible to handle them in any other way.
The ship went safely down the ways at the appointed time and was duly christened. It was interesting and impressive to see all the workers and their families gathered together for the occasion and I felt there was a spirit of good workmanship in this yard.