Harry S. Truman photo

Radio Remarks Opening the Nation's Community Chest Campaign.

September 30, 1951

My fellow Americans:

In 1500 communities throughout the United States, we are beginning a campaign to raise funds for the Community Chest. This is an event of critical importance to this country of ours. It stands for our devotion to the real, human values that make our Nation great.

The ultimate greatness of a nation can never be measured by its material riches or the strength of its armies. Instead, what really counts in the long run is how much that nation contributes to the moral and spiritual welfare of mankind.

Our own country has grown great for just that reason--because it is based on moral values. We have been taught that it is the highest duty of man to live by the Golden Rule--we acknowledge that each of us is his brother's keeper.

That is a good rule for the Government to follow, and the Government can and does do many things to help people meet the problems of their daily lives. But there are many other things that the Government does not attempt to do, things that friends and neighbors have always done for one another and will always keep on doing. Nothing can ever take the place of the good old-fashioned rule that neighbors should always help each other.

That is the heart of the American ideal-people working together, sharing their joys and their sorrows, trying to make the world a better place to live in. That is what the Community Chest means to me. It is, I think, one of the finest developments of our time.

The Community Chest gives us a chance to make sure our help will really count. As our towns and cities have grown larger, community problems have become more and more complex. It is often hard for us as individuals to know what kind of contribution will do the most good toward meeting our community needs. That's where the Community Chest comes in. When we give to the Chest, we can make sure we are helping our neighbors and our neighborhood in the right way. And when we do that we are making our neighborhood and our country a better place to live in for ourselves and our children.

So, I say to you: Give to the Community Chest. Help to build up the things that are finest in the American way of life.

How much should you give? I can't tell you that. But I can tell you that the need is very great and most of us in this country are better able to give than we have ever been before in our lives.

The needs are greater this year, because the Community Chest has a double job to do. This year a United Defense Fund has been set up as a part of the Red Feather campaign. Through the USO and other agencies, this fund will provide special help and services for the men and women in our armed forces, for their families, and for our defense workers.

This defense job is vital and deserves the support of all of us. But at the same time, the Community Chest must keep right on with its regular job in our home towns--helping families in trouble, caring for homeless or neglected children, nursing the sick, and providing guidance and recreation for young people.

To do these two great jobs we should give all we can.

For such a cause as this, I am confident that the American people will do their utmost.

Note: The President's remarks were prerecorded for release at 10:55 p.m. on September 30, 1951.

Harry S. Truman, Radio Remarks Opening the Nation's Community Chest Campaign. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/230890

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