APRIL 17, 1945
WASHINGTON, Monday—When you have lived for a long time in close contact with the loss and grief which today pervades the world, any personal sorrow seems to be lost in the general sadness of humanity. For a long time, all hearts have been heavy for every serviceman sacrificed in the war. There is only one way in which those of us who live can repay the dead who have given their utmost for the cause of liberty and justice. They died in the hope that, thru their sacrifice, an enduring peace would be built and a more just world would emerge for humanity.
While my husband was in Albany and for some years after coming to Washington, his chief interest was in seeing that the average human being was given a fairer chance for "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." That was what made him always interested in the problems of minority groups and of any group which was at a disadvantage.
As the war clouds gathered and the inevitable involvement of this country became more evident, his objective was always to deal with the problems of the war, political and military, so that eventually an organization might be built to prevent future wars.
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Any man in public life is bound, in the course of years, to create certain enemies. But when he is gone, his main objectives stand out clearly and one may hope that a spirit of unity may arouse the people and their leaders to a complete understanding of his objectives and a determination to achieve those objectives themselves.
Abraham Lincoln was taken from us before he had achieved unity within the nation, and his people failed him. This divided us as a nation for many years.
Woodrow Wilson was also stricken and, in that instance, the peoples of the world failed to carry out his vision.
Perhaps, in his wisdom, the Almighty is trying to show us that a leader may chart the way, may point out the road to lasting peace, but that many leaders and many peoples must do the building. It cannot be the work of one man, nor can the responsibility be laid upon his shoulders, and so, when the time comes for peoples to assume the burden more fully, he is given rest.
God grant that we may have the wisdom and courage to build a peaceful world with justice and opportunity for all peoples the world over.
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And now I want to say one personal word of gratitude to the many people who have sent messages of affection and condolence during these last days. My children and I are deeply grateful. I want to say too that the people who waited in the stations and along the railroad to pay their last respects have my deep appreciation.
"And now there abideth these three—faith, hope, charity, but the greatest of these is charity."