JUNE 13, 1945
HYDE PARK, Tuesday—Yesterday afternoon a very triumphant secretary came to me and announced that at last, after all these weeks, we had succeeded in opening the last piece of mail which has come to this address between the date of my husband's death and the present. It will, of course, be completely impossible to answer these thousands of letters, some of which included poems and pieces of music and money for various purposes in which the senders felt the President was interested.
Here in my column, however, I want to say again a word of thanks. I want to tell you how much it has meant to feel that so many people not only have felt a personal loss, but have appreciated my husband's leadership during the past twelve years. A few people, of course, went even further back than that, back to the early days of service in the Legislature, in the Navy Department or as Governor of the State of New York. Some remembered primarily the early days in Warm Springs when my husband was often friend and doctor and philosopher, before the staff came to take over their respective jobs.
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I wish we had the ability to answer at least some of the letters which have come in, but aside from the lack of actual time and help, there is a shortage of paper! I would like to give you some examples of the kind of letters people have written, but there is little space and it would be hard to choose among so many messages.
One of my boys, writing from the Pacific, said he had been deeply touched by the efforts of the men under his command to express, often very shyly, their own sense of loss. He added that one of the things he felt to be most outstanding about his father was the ability which had been granted him to make people who had never seen him feel that they knew him personally and that they could get confidence themselves from his strength.
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The radio, of course, has become a great instrument for bringing people together. Millions of people who have heard only voices on the radio have come to attach to those voices personalities and qualities of character. In many of my letters there is a sense of loss because my husband's voice will no longer come into a living room or a kitchen in some remote corner of the United States.
To those who have written in such numbers, since I cannot say any individual words of thanks, I would like to send a thought: Out of sorrow and loss must come renewed strength, and I know that my husband's hope would be that every citizen of this country will work a little harder than ever before at the business of being a citizen.