My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK, Monday—I have waited to add my small tribute to the tributes of many other people who knew and loved Mrs. William Brown Meloney, because I felt that many others had known her longer than I have and had a right to speak first. I have known her well only since she had begun her extraordinary fight against pain and illness, so always to me she will be the flame of a spirit which nothing, not even death, can extinguish.

Many a time when I went in to see her, the words of a poem written by my aunt, Mrs. Douglas Robinson about her sister, Mrs. William Sheffield Cowles, kept running through my mind, for Mrs. Meloney was "A Soldier of Pain."

"Facing each day, head high with gallant laughter,
   Anguish supreme;
What accolade in what divine hereafter
   Shall this redeem?
"Through the long night of racked, recurrent waking,
   Till the long day.
Fraught with distress, brings but the same heartbreaking
   Front for the fray.
"In a far land our Nation's patriots, willing
   Fought, and now lie,
But you—as brave—a harder fate fulfilling,
   Dare not to die!"

One never came away depressed from seeing "Missy" Meloney. One always felt that the world was so full of interesting things that there was something important for everyone to do and she was urging you on to do your share. I know that even in the future, if I am sometimes weary and think that perhaps there is no use in fighting for things in which I believe against overwhelming opposition, the thought of what she would say, will keep me from being a slacker. She believed that women had an important part to play in the future. She not only helped such women as Madame Curie, who were great women, but she helped many little people like myself to feel that we had a contribution and an obligation to try to grow.

I do not want to think of Mrs. Meloney as dead. I want to think of her vivid spirit living on in those who loved her, giving them strength to conquer bodily ills and courage to achieve more than they believed themselves capable of achieving. Most of her messages and letters finished with the same sentence. She used it to me and I am sure she did to all her other friends, and so I say "God Love You," Missy dear.

E.R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL