My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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ALBANY, N.Y., Sunday—It is hard to realize that Thursday evening at seven-thirty Seattle time I took to the air. I reached Newark only half an hour late, crossing the entire continent in less than twenty-four hours. I have had two days in the country since then.

Not long ago some one asked me why I liked to fly. From his point of view the only reason any one would want to fly would be to save time, and after all, the time saved was frequently of very little value. On this question of time I am willing to own that most of us don't need or rather don't use to any good purpose the time we save. It certainly does, however, make it possible to do a great many things we would like to do and perhaps might not think possible. Quite aside from time there is beauty in flying. For instance we were over the clouds for a time and I could not help but think how interesting the view was. Some clouds were dead white, others yellowish or even nearly black. They rose to different heights like hills, they opened up into what looked like bottomless chasms. The landscape of clouds is almost as varied as the landscape beneath them when one can see the ground or the mountains or the water over which one is actually flying. Even more than the beauty of sunrise or of sunset there is a fascination which I think every aviator must feel in conquering a new element. At the bottom of all study and invention lies that constant effort on the part of man to contol his surroundings. It is really I imagine the instinct which has pushed man from the beginning gradually upward to a greater and greater effort to dominate his world.

In all of these efforts men give their lives but each loss of life brings something new to the sum total of knowledge which advances mankind as a whole. Just as I took off the news had come of the horrible accident to the Hindenburg. All of us grieved over the loss of life, it seemed even more pathetic when the journey was really done. Many of us I imagine, felt a deep sympathy with the German people who have pioneered in this field and won such great success, and now must feel such grief and disappointment. The interesting thing to me, however, was that no one I saw suggested for a minute that we would not go on with experiments on lighter than air craft. All the discussion was over what occassioned the accident and how best it could be prevented. Therein lies the greatness of man. Fear is never allowed to dominate that desire for greater knowledge and as long as mankind retains that spirit we will move forward.

The weather here has been pleasant but the sun is not as warm as it was in Seattle and it seems curious to see so few flowers after being surrounded by such an abundance. All seems to go well with the fishermen and only among the stay-at-homes did I find one or two slight casualties, but I hope my husband will return to find his household all awaiting him in good condition!

E.R.
TMsd 9 May 1937, AERP, FDRL