nonoratorical style he said, “I want to say a few words to you about the purchase of war bonds.” Then he went on to say, “Perhaps you think that the purchase of a $25 bond does not amount to much. I want to see if I can prove that you are mistaken. I wish every one of you would take a match out of his pocket. I am going to wait just a few moments, then I am going to ask that those floodlights be turned out, than I am going to ask that each one of you light his match.”
Suddenly the lights went out and there was the most dazzling spectacle that those people who were there that night ever saw in their lives. A solid, blazing mass of light in a horseshoe made up of 1 match plus 59,999 others!
Do you think he drove home his point? I’ll say he did! Twenty five dollars multiplied by 60,000 is a pretty tidy little sum, so he drove home to every individual there the lesson and the fact that the individual and the activity on the part of each individual do count, and I ask each of you not to forget that as you leave the halls of this conference room and go back home.
I listened the other day to a British war correspondent who had just come from England. He was apparently quite a high-up one, because he was a member of the King’s entourage that went into Coventry just after that bombing. As they walked through the city with its rubble, mess, and smoke, they were very much depressed. Just as they were leaving the city, this ace correspondent pointed out the fact that the wind somehow or other came along providentially and blew away the smoke and illuminated a sign which was posted across the church which had been miraculously spared. The words on that sign were, “It all depends on me.”
This Conference is about to break up, but I am calling on you, each and every one of you, to remember this. The Conference will have been futile, as the judge said a moment ago, it will have been a dismal failure, if we have merely come here to listen to a series of speeches. But if we go home pledged within our own respective souls that we really mean what we are talking about as we have sat here for these three days, and that each of us is going to do something about it; if we become possessed of the fact that, like the young man who pointed out that a $25 bond does, after all, not mean much, that as individuals we do count and can do something positively and effectively at home; and if we will also accept the challenge, as in the words of the Coventry church sign, that “It depends on me,” whether the job is going to be done at home or not, then this Conference will not only not have been a failure, but it will have been a glorious success, because this group of 1,000 or 1,500 men and women will go out to the four corners of the United States of America, and the expression of what is in their souls, because of what they have learned here and because of what they are determined to do back in their own home quarters, will produce tremendous results.
So, Mr. Chairman, as I move the adoption of this recommendation, I am going to call upon each one here not merely to give a perfunctory “aye,” but to vote by rising, not merely to approve the recommendation, which I am assuming, but to express by that rising vote that each one is pledging to himself that he will go home and do a job to carry out the purposes of this Conference.
Mr. Chairman, I move the adoption of this recommendation.