MAY 19, 1945
HYDE PARK, Friday—I started out with Fala for his regular early morning walk in the woods today, and before we knew it the rain, which began to fall gently at first, had turned into a miniature deluge. Every day the puddles grow bigger on the roads, the streams are fuller, and what usually are little trickles of water are now rushing brooks with waterfalls here and there. It is all very lovely; but if you are trying to put a place in order and get a garden planted, it certainly is rather difficult to find time in which to work. I like spring rain in the woods, but Fala and I decided, as we trudged along, that on the whole we had had almost enough during the past week and we could do with a little drying out in the sun.
I am sure many of my farmer friends around here feel much the same way. If only one could store up the extra rain now for the periods of drought which, I am perfectly sure, will come later on to make up for this present munificence.
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Back on March 14, my husband proclaimed Sunday, May 20, as "I Am An American Day." In his words, it was to "honor those who have recently become members of our body politic, and at the same time reaffirm our allegiance to the principles of American citizenship." He called upon federal, state and local officials, as well as patriotic and civic organizations, to hold exercises "designed to impress upon our citizens, both native-born and naturalized, the privileges of their new status in our democracy, and their responsibility for building this nation's security and advancing its welfare."
I hope that every year this celebration will take place in every community. It has always seemed to me that we make too little of our coming-of-age as citizens—both as regards our native-born young people who reach voting age, and our foreign-born new citizens. They will have all the more appreciation of the significance of American citizenship if their induction is given due importance and conducted with ceremony.
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Now, above all times in our history, we need citizens who know why they believe in a democracy. They must realize that being a citizen in a democracy entails greater responsibility than any other type of citizenship anywhere else in the world, for in a democracy there is no way in which you can put upon any other individual the responsibility which you should carry yourself.