My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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PORTLAND, Me. , Monday—To continue a little longer along the lines of yesterday's column. I have a letter from a boy enrolled in the Army Civilian Aeronautics Authority War Training Program, in which he tells me that life has been made very difficult for him and for many others who are taking a similar course.

This is a program which the War Department requested be made available to individuals who are unable to meet the qualifications of the Army for combat pilots, but who would qualify for co-pilots, liaison pilots, ferrying pilots and instructors.

These boys are given only board and lodging and no recompense for their services during the training period. Lately, they have been issued surplus uniforms left over from the Civilian Conservation Corps, and at last they have CAA wing and sleeve emblems. They are training because of their anxiety to serve and many of them already called to service have lost their lives.

The families of these boys frequently make a sacrifice while they are training, because some of the boys leave positions in which they are earning good salaries. It is highly unfair that they, or the boys in necessary civilian occupations, should be made to feel unhappy.

We are ready to start out bright and early this morning and shall have a busy day, but I cannot tell you more about it until tomorrow.

I have a letter from a man who is interested in the education of our young people for the future. His plan has been placed before educational authorities in Great Britain and her Dominions. He sends it to me because he feels that we, like Great Britain, must have a spur to release our greatest efforts in the future. This spur must be the love of creative work.

He feels that in all the countries of the world, as we remove economic pressure by giving people a minimum of security, we must, through education, see that they acquire an even more ardent desire to serve their community through creative work, or we shall lose something valuable in our civilization.

He reminds us that Aristotle said: "That slaves cannot be done away with, or who would do the tiresome work of the world." We have replaced, my informant says, the whip of the slave driver by the whip of economic pressure. Today, in some measure, we propose to remove this pressure, and he asks:

"If there is still to be great endeavor and keen purpose in the world, we must replace economic pressure by eagerness for knowledge, insatiable scientific curiousity, the spirit of adventure, passionate delight in creating, whether in crafts or the highest form of literature, music and art. How can we awaken this spirit in the common man?"

Obviously, only through education.



About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, February 9, 1943

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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MEP edition publlished on 2008-06-30

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.