JANUARY 1, 1953
NEW YORK—The year 1952 has come to an end.
Some of us have much to be thankful for. All of us have something for which we can be thankful. As a nation, I think we can honestly say we have met the situations confronting us and have not done too badly.
None of us can be happy that the war in Korea has not ended, but all of us can rejoice that the collective United Nations forces have pushed the aggressor back to the 38th parallel and have proved that aggression can be held in check even though we were not strong enough to completely prevent it, nor as yet to make it seem useless for Red China and for Russia to keep on fighting the U.N. forces. The Communists hope to wear out the democratic forces eventually and to have a unified Korea under Communist control, but so far the U.N. forces have held fast.
In our own country, in spite of inflation, the great mass of the people has been able to live fairly comfortably. It was a far cry from our first Thanksgiving Day services in the Massachusetts Colony to the past Thanksgiving Day services in the whole United States.
We are a powerful nation now, but with that power has come to every one of our citizens grave responsibilities. I think we can meet those responsibilities, and in this coming year we can make some forward strides in proving to the world that democracy will work. And that it not only will work at home but it will help such people in the world as need help and strengthen the recognition throughout the world of the value of each and every human being.
Some of our young people think only of the failure of the past years and not of the accomplishments. That is an attitude that I hope will pass before too long, for it leads to cynicism and fear.
I have before me an article written by a high-school boy after the past Armistice Day program. He realizes how many of the former high-school boys have gone out to be killed in "the little wars" around the globe and that perhaps before too long in the names he has heard read out in praise as heroes will include his own name and those of his contemporaries.
He writes: "Such a thought is terrible enough to be unspeakable. Yet I write it knowing its awfulness and its hopelessness. Convince me, you teachers, that I am wrong. Teach me, you history teachers, that history will not repeat itself. Deflect me if you can from the path of cynicism but I think I am too old already."
I often wonder if it would not be well to point out how many men have always died before the proverbial three score years and ten in accidents of various kinds. It is not really important when we die; it is important for what we die and how we die. If a man has died for others, even a short life may be very fruitful, and youth should not grow cynical but should think how many more today have lengthened periods in which to live. This increase in time may have very little value unless our youth develops true values in living and strives for high achievements.
May 1953 bring us all, young and old, greater opportunities for usefulness and the courage to live without fear.