The following is from the Oneonta, New York 9th grade yearbook for the class of 1941. It was 7 months from Pearl Harbor and expresses what America was, or at least strove to be at that time in history. This class was the Senior Class of 1944 and a majority of the boys in this class served in WWII.
IN THESE THINGS I BELIEVE
I believe in the world I live in; in the green plant life of the early spring; in the sunshine that warms me, and the pelting rain that streams against the, window panes; in. the keen smell of the and balsam; and the quiet white of the winter.
I believe in God who placed me in this world to do my part. I can worship God as I choose, in an atmosphere of tolerance and peace. I feel the presence of a Power greater than my own, watching over me.
I believe in people; in my parents who love me; in my friends, who laugh a lot, but who can be serious too; in the men, who grow my food and make our automobiles, and the women who care for me when I am sick.
I believe in America. In school I am treated impartially. I learn how to be a good citizen. I can choose my life's vocation influenced only by my ambitions, abilities, and desires.
I believe in the freedom I have in America. I can discuss any problem I wish with my friends. I can listen to the Governor of my state, or to a man on a soapbox. I can criticize anyone - my next-door neighbor, or the President in the White House.
I believe that in America I am free to choose my destiny - that I am held down only by my own weakness; that here, regardless of race, or color, or creed, any American has a chance to make something of himself.
I believe in my flag. When I look at it, I feel proud and sort of reverent. It stands for the quiet of the countryside, and the bustle of great cities; for the smiles on friendly faces, and the thankful feeling of enough to eat; for freedom of worship, and sympathy for the distressed. I like to see it snapping in the breeze from tall buildings. I'm glad it's my flag.
I am glad that I am an American.
Ninth Grade Class of 1941