JULY 15, 1949
HYDE PARK, Thursday—It was shocking indeed to read of the plane disasters that killed so many people. Somehow it seems particularly sad that the newspapermen should die in India when gathering news in peacetime. As far as most of us are concerned, their job today seems a much less hazardous one than it was during the war.
During the war the sudden deaths of Ernie Pyle and Raymond Clapper seemed almost like a personal blow because I knew them. But at least we felt they were taking the chances that all our men in the war theaters were obligated to take day in and day out. Now we have grown so accustomed to feeling that air travel is as safe as any other mode of transportation that it comes as a shock and a special tragedy to lose so many people whose names, at least, are familiar and whom we considered valuable because of their free and objective reporting.
To their families and friends I would like to extend my deep sympathy and appreciation of the work they had done.
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I am still getting letters from a few people who seem to think that in opposing aid from the taxpayers' money to any but public schools, I must have a particular bias against the Catholic Church. This must be because their parochial schools are more numerous than the schools of any other denomination.
I hate to continue an argument that many people think is based on prejudice, but something was written in a letter to me that seems worth mentioning.
A gentleman writes that the Barden bill was a discriminatory bill against the Negroes in the South. I have not read the bill carefully, and I have been rather careful not to say if I am for or against any particular bill or bills. As a matter of fact, I have not gone into the details of any bills.
I believe in federal aid to public education and I think it should be particularly valuable to the states of the South that do not have the income to spend as much per capita on all children, white and Negro, as should be spent. I believe that all children should have an equal opportunity for education in whatever community they live, and this holds good for the whole of the United States.
Another lady writes that I am against the Constitution, since I would deny religious education in the public schools. I did state that I thought religious education was valuable to every child, but it could not be given in the school alone. The home and the church must cooperate.
This is no real reason why every school should not teach every child that one of the important aspects of our life is its spiritual side. It might be possible to devise a prayer that all the denominations could say and it certainly ought to be possible to read certain verses from the Bible every day. It probably would do children no harm to learn to know some of the writings of other great religious leaders who have led other great religious movements.