NOVEMBER 26, 1946
NEW YORK, Monday—I wonder how many people paid much attention to a release which was sent out recently telling what the town of Dunkirk, New York, is doing for the much-bombed city of Dunkerque, France, through the American Aid to France, Inc.
Even in the first World War, Dunkerque, being a port on the English Channel, was constantly bombed; and in the second World War, the famous crossing of the remnants of the British Army was made from there, so again it suffered devastation.
Thanksgiving Day this year will be celebrated in an entirely new way by the citizens of Dunkirk, N. Y., led by Mayor Murray. Some notables connected with France and interested in helping her to recover will be on hand to show their gratitude. The day will be carried through according to a proclamation read in all the city churches two weeks ago.
It was issued by the Mayor, who called on the people of Dunkirk to unite "in a demonstration of good faith to the citizens of Dunkerque, France, through a program to be planned according to the wishes of our citizens. In these days of international confusion and misunderstanding, it is fitting that we should dedicate this day of peacetime Thanksgiving to the ideals of brotherhood and mutual assistance, which, in the dark days of 1940, were so splendidly expressed by the men of many nations who died at the gates and on the beaches of Dunkerque, France."
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The town's industries, veterans' groups, school children, labor unions and over 200 civic and church organizations have brought in gifts for shipment to France with a plaque reading: "For Life and Liberty, Dunkirk to Dunkerque." It is hoped that this plaque will be unveiled in Dunkerque on Thanksgiving Day at an American health and welfare center maintained by American Aid to France, Inc.
On Thanksgiving Day in Dunkirk, N.Y., instead of the traditional turkey dinner and football game in the afternoon, there will be a parade, a coast-to-coast broadcast, a memorial service on the shores of Lake Erie, and a reception and banquet for the celebrities.
I like particularly the list of some of the gifts. An Italian-American service club gave 30 new woolen blankets. A small hardware store donated 15 new baby carriages. A canning factory gave 400 cases of canned food. The Royal Order of Billy Goats and the Royal Order of Moose, along with seven other organizations, pledged a cow each. In these days when the price of cows has gone up, this is no mean gift, though we would have thought the billy goats might be insulted that some of them were not included in the gifts! The Elks are sending a bull.
I am sure that this generosity will bring great satisfaction and reward to the people of Dunkirk, N.Y., and I hope that many other towns and villages throughout this country will follow their example.