Saturday, February 17, 2007

Friday Feb 22

This is Washingtons birthday
which reminds me that his
courage and sacrifice is a
source of inspiration not only
to Americans, but to people
the world over.

After brief visits to both
my sisters this evening,
I listened in to a radio
adress (sic) given by President
Coolidge to the occasion
of Washingtons birthday.


Matt's notes:

For Papa to make a note about George Washington's example in his private diary again proves how sincerely he believes in America and in the merits of sacrificing oneself for the greater good. Coolidge echoed these sentiments in his radio address (the transcript is in the New York Times archive) but they feel more genuine coming from Papa (who knows, maybe Coolidge was sincere -- I've just lost the capacity to be impressed by Presidential speeches after decades of grotesque national politics, and particularly after the last six years of Presidential lies and opportunism.)

As it did for Coolidge's radio address a few weeks prior, the New York Times reviewed the clarity of the broadcast, reported on atmospheric conditions, and described the logistics associated with carrying the speech to various American Telephone and Telegraph Company radio stations in the Northeast. I mention this just as a reminder of how novel it still was, in February 1924, to hear a President's voice on the radio.


Update 3/8

Dina writes:

Reading Papa's thoughts about Washington reminded me that my Zeide, my Dad's father, also had great American heroes. He admired Lincoln, Helen Keller and I think Walt Whitman! I wonder if it was characteristic, for men of our grandfather's generation, to hold these historical figures in such high regard because they represented, for them, what was best about America. i will have to ask my Dad if he remembers why Zeide loved these individuals so much.

Reading your grandfather's entries and your comments has caused me to remember things about my Zeide. He like your Papa loved the theater but I don't believe that he attended many shows. He did however read plays and as a teen ager I borrowed anthologies from him and read many well known and obscure plays from the 1930's. My grandfather too was an ardent Zionist but probably less left leaning than Papa. I'll try to dig up some info on his activities. It would be interesting if their paths crossed as I believe they were more or less contemporaries.

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