AUGUST 7, 1943
HYDE PARK, Friday—Who says this isn't everybody's war? Travelling on the train, particularly in the coach, soon brings you the realization of how many people have sons in the armed services.
The other day I was reading, when someone stopped by my seat and handed me a photograph of two boys, one in uniform and one still in civilian clothes. She was a proud mother and she said: "My two boys, one is already in and one just going. Will you sign the back of their photograph?"
Somehow, no rules hold under all circumstances. I, who usually say very firmly to children hunting autographs that in public conveyances I just can't sign, because it means that the whole train or bus gradually drifts by for a signature, found myself signing without a word and wishing her boys good luck from the bottom of my heart.
A few minutes later, another woman stood beside me, telling me in rather halting English that she had four boys in the services and she hoped they would come home safely and that mine would come home safely, too. As she spoke, I could not help remembering a conversation I overheard not long ago.
Two women were discussing the affairs of the world as they affected our country and one of them, becoming somewhat irritated, remarked: "You have no right to an opinion. You were not born in this country, you are not a real American."
As I looked up and down the train I decided that anyone who held such an opinion had better revise it quickly and they had better broaden their definition of what it means to be an American. I think they would find that many a good citizen not born in this country has, perhaps, a greater appreciation of what it means to live in a free and self-governing country and, therefore, a greater sense of responsibility for preserving the democratic way of life.
Many people must have seen the picture of the American boy who, having landed in Sicily, found his grandmother and was photographed kissing her. I was amused by the little story about Franklin, Jr., who was asked on some dock in Sicily, apparently by a Sicilian woman, whether her boy in the Navy would be badly treated because his mother lived in Sicily. The little touch that particularly appealed to me in the story was the hole in the heel of Franklin, Jr.'s, sock. Of all our children, I think he is the most oblivious to such little details.
The Democratic Woman's Club of Hyde Park is holding its annual meeting today at the Vanderbilt Inn. Dutchess County being such a strong Republican county, I am always surprised that in our little village we can muster enough women for a real meeting, but it is usually quite a gala affair and I must go now to be on hand.