JUNE 3, 1943
WASHINGTON, Wednesday—Most of us have heavy hearts about the coal strike these days. Perhaps many of us have a share in the blame. Basically, however, one undeniable fact is plain. In wartime a promise was given not to strike and, at that time, the War Labor Board was set up as the final court after conciliation had failed. Like it or not, all sides, it seems to me, must accept its decision.
One thing keeps coming up before me. Sons of the men who work in mines are flying planes, or shooting guns or driving tanks, in far off places. We may have hardships here, but they do not equal what these boys face when there are no airplanes to protect them overhead as they make their attack; when they are short of guns and tanks. Coal is vital to the production of war weapons.
When everything else is said and done, this is the question that the parents of these boys will ask themselves as they sit idly day by day—"Are we making it harder for our boys?" They trust you, Mr. John L. Lewis, are you letting them down? Mr. Operators, how will your sons feel?
I keep repeating the fact, that we in this country, are a nation of many racial origins bound together by our common love of freedom and belief in a democratic form of government. A good illustration of the truth of this was given at the Cleveland, Ohio, Airport, last Saturday, May 29th. The Slovak League of America presented to the War Department on that date, three trainer planes to be used in the training of Army Air Corps Cadets.
These planes were bought with funds raised through a drive by two newspapers—SLOVENSKA OBRANA, of Scranton, and OSADNE HLASY, of Chicago. The Slovak Fund, as it is called, came in from all over the country in small sums of money. 16,040 persons living in 30 states, made individual contributions. To be exact, 8,230, sent in at least one dollar. 2,543 sent in two dollars, and almost 1500 contributed five dollars each.
Letters that show what I mean by the idea which binds us together, came with these contributions. Here is one of them:
"Such freedom as we immigrants have here in America, you will not find in the old country. Fellow Slovaks, let us all unite to help our President and our soldiers in this war, so that dictators' tyranny will be abolished forever and democracy reign supreme." There speaks the spirit which is the United States of America.