DECEMBER 22, 1944
WASHINGTON, Thursday—Yesterday was a day of many appointments, and they covered many subjects.
I had a very young gentleman come because he is writing an article for his school paper. He is in military school and concerned about their future place in our educational system. Several very much older gentlemen and one or two ladies also came to see me. They are concerned about political questions both from the practical, personal point of view and from the more academic and objective point of view!
Some friends of varying ages came to lunch and another friend shared our evening meal, after which we spent a quiet evening and took the midnight train back to Washington.
I love the view from our New York apartment window, with the lights shining on Washington Square. A light fall of snow and the brightly lit Christmas tree gave the whole scene a Christmas aspect.
The news from Europe has been so bad that I cannot help thinking of the weariness and disappointment of the men who have taken these miles of enemy territory and are now being driven back.
The Germans, of course, have progressively less territory to defend. Once upon a time they were spread all over Europe, but as they are thrown back onto their own land, their lines of communication are shorter and their lines of defense more concentrated. Setbacks like these must, of course, be expected, but it makes one's heart ache to think of the gloom and disappointment among our soldiers and the news of individual losses, which will come increasingly often knocking at our doors. Three people I have heard of today can hardly face the Christmas season with a joyous spirit, and my heart is heavy for the accumulated sorrow all about us.
An article which appeared the other day in a California paper contained the suggestion that instead of putting up monuments to the dead in towns and villages all over our country, we build universities and endow scholarships and pick the ablest young men and women we can find in all the countries of the world to attend these schools. In these universities special emphasis is to be laid on government training for international affairs—languages, world economics, history, government—everything which will equip people to deal better with each other in this field. Since young people will be brought together from various places, they will get to know each other and will not be strangers when they meet again in the diplomatic and consular services, as well as in legislative and administrative positions in their various countries.
Perhaps there may be something in this idea. I have always felt that stone monuments, with the names of the young people inscribed on them, did us comparatively little good, and I would far rather see something done to help future generations. The memory of the youth that has fought this war, and saved our civilization for us once again, can be fittingly honored only by finding ways to keep the peace.