My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

LONDONDERRY, Northern Ireland—The flight to Ireland yesterday morning was smooth and uneventful, but there was just enough mist to prevent our seeing a great deal below us. We arrived in time to lunch with the Governor General, His Grace, the Duke of Abercorn and the Duchess of Abercorn. We then hurried on to visit a hospital in Belfast and the American Red Cross headquarters. They were so afraid that the weather might prevent our flying to Londonderry that they hurried us as much as they could. I missed seeing a number of the wards in the hospital, which I regretted, because any change, I think, is diverting to people who are in bed and seeing someone who has recently come from the United States, is naturally a great excitement to any of the American boys.

This particular hospital is undoubtedly efficiently run, and meets the needs of the Forces, but I cannot say that it seemed to me a particularly cheerful spot, and I think the nurses must do most of the bringing of sunshine into those wards for they tell me that there has been very little good weather for months past.

The American Red Cross Club was a very nice one with a wonderful gymnasium which they also use for dancing and which must give them a really adequate floor. They have several game rooms and a very good canteen. A committee of Belfast ladies have taken an interest here and they were assembled and presented me with some pieces of Irish linen. In spite of the fact that in my hurry I hardly took time to express my appreciation of their thought, I am delighted with this gift. One of the ladies told me she was a sister of the late Mr. Charles Fayerweather. It is curious in how many places one runs across people with whom there is some connection.

We reached our plane in ample time and found that the weather had cleared and that the short flight to Londonderry was made in the sunlight and ended with quite a beautiful sunset. There we went directly to Captain Kirkman's house for the night. He had kindly invited the heads of the various British women's organizations and of our Red Cross, to dine.

Stewart and his wife also were at dinner, since he is in charge of the British Naval establishment here.

The "WRENS" are undertaking a campaign to bring British and American sailors closer together, giving parties at which each "Wren" is responsible and one American. This I think may be a very excellent idea.

After dinner we went to the Londonderry American Red Cross Club which was the first one established on this side of the ocean. There was a big crowd and what I would consider a very successful dance going on. They stopped dancing for a little while and the Army gave a little concert for our benefit and the Glee club sang two or three numbers. Then they went back to dancing and I went on to the Marine Corps dance in another building where they were celebrating their 167th anniversary. Here I cut the cake and said a few words of congratulation and then we returned to our own abode, somewhat weary but glad to have been able to fly, because it made it possible to see so much more.

Today is Armistice Day. When I think of the rejoicing which we all felt on this date in 1918, I cannot help having a sense of futility. There is just one thing for which I pray on this daythat as a nation we will not fool ourselves again into believing that which is pleasant but will accept reality and grasp the fact that we are part of a world which cannot be divided and treated in sections.

E. R.
TMsd 11 November 1942, AERP, FDRL