My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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HYDE PARK, Monday—A young naval officer sent me a letter the other day, which I am going to quote to you. It is one of the most heartrending but courageous letters I have ever read. It probably tells the story, not of this one woman alone, but of many thousands of women in this country today, who are meeting similar situations. To know how this woman met her particular trial may be helpful to many others.

"Approximately two weeks ago, my younger brother, a lieutenant in the Army, received multiple injuries that are rather horrible in detail. When mother received the news, she immediately entrained to be near him as soon as possible. While on board the train, she jotted down a few thoughts and mailed them to me. I wish to quote a few of the same verbatim, for it is within them I tell my story. I am sure that you will understand her state of mind while expressing her viewpoint.

"'Now I want you all to think with me, with all your heart and soul, that the loss of one hand and a thumb, etc., is not going to handicap in any way his success in life. The only way that I can fathom it out, and that gives me any comfort at all, is that it must have happened for a reason, and that reason is that he is going to be a much bigger and better man without that hand than he would have been with it. I am holding on with a vice-like grip to that thought and nothing will ever change—it is the thought I must get over to him. Certainly there will be qualities developed in him that would never have existed as part of him before.'"

The boy who sends this letter to me is the brother of the young Army officer. The fact that he wrote to me about it, shows that he realized many women—mothers, wives and sweethearts—might need the help of his mother's example. He wanted them to know that the boys recognize their courage, the courage that enables them to smile when they are left alone, and the courage that meets without flinching whatever fate holds in store.

E.R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL