The birthday of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt were celebrated jointly on Friday evening by the World Fellowship of Faiths with a banquet at the Hotel New Yorker. Speakers representing the Jews, Christians, Negroes and Hindus praised the three American statesmen.
Rabbi Israel Goldstein of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, declared that “the eyes of the world are fixed on Franklin D. Roosevelt. In a time when institutions of democracy have been discredited and discarded in a large part of the civilized world, President Roose- veit is leading our nation along paths hewn by Washington and Lincoln, in accord with our democratic institutions. His leadership is one of the few rays of light in this dark and clouded hour of human history.”
Kedernath DasGupta of India, general executive of the World Fellowship of Faiths, said, “It is most fitting that we should celebrate the birthdays of three great Americans who belong not only to America but to the world. By his one year’s service we can put mr. Rossevelt in the same rank of other great makers of nations of the twentieth century, namely: Sun Yat-Sen, Lenin, Mustapha Kemal and Mahatma Ghandi.”
In a message to the meeting, Rabbi Stephen s. Wise wrote, “Up to this hour and since the day that he became President, Franklin Delano Rossevelt has served the nation with a measure of vision and courage and, above all, of faith in the common people and their right to a fuller life, which give promise that he will rank among the greatest figures in the history of the Presidency.”
“As a man is known by the company he keeps, so a nation is rightly estimated by the heroes it has created and adored,” declared Rev. Albert C. Grier, pastor of the Church of the Truth. “Any nation that has brought into existence Washington, Lincoln and Roosevelt and more deply reveres them with the passing years is sage for all time. Today as we stand amidst most perplexing problems we do well to take our eyes away from them and study devotedly these giant characters in the realm of the inner life.”
Other speakers who paid tribute to the three American statesmen included Dr. Gorge E. Haynes, executive secretary of the commission on the Church and Race Relations of the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America, and Pandit Dr. Shyama Shankar, representative of Hindu Religions Association, who presided. Messages were read from Mayor LGuardia and Miss Mary E. Wolley, president of Mount Holyoke College.