WASHINGTON, Thursday—I am back in Washington and today am flying down to christen the new "Yorktown." I christened the first one and she acquited herself well and I am proud that they have asked me to christen the second one. As she goes down the ways, I shall pray that she will see the end of the war and will be used in the future for peaceful patrol work. Whatever happens to her, I feel sure that ship and men will live up to the traditions of the Navy, which are becoming more glorious day by day.
The workmen who have built these ships in record time to replace those which the enemy has taken from us deserve our gratitude. Without their hard work, we could not have the faith we have in the staunchness of our ships, nor the sense of security that all human power can do has been done to make every ship seaworthy.
Our shipbuilders must be skilled men, for I think that I told you that in Liverpool, England, an old hand at inspecting ships was sure that no ship could be built as rapidly as Mr. Kaiser's, and still be any good. To convince himself, he went on board to look for all the things he felt would be wrong and could not find a single thing to criticize.
At the evening meeting in Montreal on Tuesday night, the band played the various national anthems in stirring fashion. I realized what these songs do to lift the spirits of a people. In the mail a few days ago, I received a letter from an American citizen, who says we should play the Marseillaise more often over the radio. French people may not be allowed to sing it themselves in occupied France, but they may be glad to hear it when they risk their lives to listen to foreign news on secret radios. The Boys Clubs of America have adopted a pre-service training plan to give boys fourteen years of age and over, basic training which helps them when they enter the armed forces. Every boy will receive a medical examination and efforts will be made to remedy the defects discovered. When a boy is physically fit, he will be given Army approved exercises under trained supervision.
These are designed to increase his strength, endurance and muscular coordination. All boys will learn to swim and instruction will be offered them in many subjects which may later be used either in peacetime occupations or in war, should they be called upon to serve.
We hope that most of this training will be useful for the peace which we pray we may establish permanently. It seems to me good training for any boy, and I am glad that such a great organization as the Boys Clubs of America is undertaking this program.