October 29, 1944
This is the time of the year when an appeal is made in all our communities for contributions to the War Chest. The Community Chest idea was developed during World War I. Such activities as the care of the sick and needy, the Family and Child Welfare, and the Recreation Services were combined into a single activity. It was a great step forward in providing funds for these worthy objectives.
Today, with the War at its peak, other needs have been added to the original group and it is now the War Chest. The Community Chest idea however, is still there as one of the three important divisions -- it is that portion of the Fund that will be set aside to help our neighbors here at home -- those folks around us who are threatened by ills made more difficult by the War.
But there are now two other parts to the Fund. For example, there are the 3,000 United Service Organizations -- the U.S.O. operations provide leisure time recreational, cultural and spiritual services to the men and women in our Fighting Forces. No matter where our men and women in uniform may be, the U.S.O. offers a home-like atmosphere and a helping hand. This is most important.
And then we have the third activity in our War Fund -- that portion that will be set aside to help the families of our hard-fighting Allies. There are millions of the very young, the very old and the helpless whose countries have been overrun by the enemy, whose homes have been broken up and who daily face starvation. Along with these we also have the “barbed wire legion” -- many million of men in the enemy’s prison camps. We must keep alive the morale of these men -- preserve not only their bodies but their minds and spirits for the better and important days to come.
After we take care of the three major objectives for our War Fund, I want to add another -- a fourth that to me is of major importance and requires no money -- it is the development of a strong, constructive community spirit by the very act of putting over the drive. You may say “That is not on the list,” but it can be made a part of the project because it comes naturally as a result of the cooperative undertaking. The hundreds who volunteer and drop their everyday work to devote hours to organization meetings and soliciting, and the tens of thousands of neighbors who give -- can both help to determine this spirit by how willingly they work and how cheerfully they give. These campaigns completely wash out such things as race, creed and color -- the welfare of the whole community is the goal. Out of this work can come a strong civic group which will represent the real character of the community -- and communities have personalities and characters the same as individuals.
As an illustration, I am a member of a rather interesting community club. It is a firmly established rule that when a member enters the club house, he must leave his Position, Politics, Prejudices and Pet Peeves in the vestibule. He can then check his hat and coat and enter as an active member of the community -- his abilities and energy are devoted now to the welfare problems of the city. Somewhat in the same manner, when we do a fine job of making the War Fund a success, either as a contributing worker or a giver, we cast aside all of the ordinary barriers -- we become a part of the heart and soul of our community. The aims are the development of good citizens and help for our fellow-men.
We engineers are in the habit of taking into consideration a very fundamental law of Science that states “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” In a great War such as this, the physical suffering and direct action are so great that we often lose sight of, or don’t properly evaluate the reaction that can take place right here at home in the strengthening of the community. Just as the fighting men of all races and creeds band together at the fronts to fight for Justice, we here at home can work together to help Humanity -- create a great civic personality and chart a constructive post-war welfare program.
Through our chest work, we have the opportunity to select for the community some important ideals and goals. These ideals will be helpful not only in our present work, but will be most valuable in the days to come -- those days when the Nations lay down their arms and we start the great job of reconstruction, and attempt to solve the problem of living in peace.