My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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HYDE PARK, Sunday—Not far from the Houses of Parliament, in the little square near where the United Nations met in London, I used to watch people stop and bare their heads before the statue of Abraham Lincoln. A few days ago I saw in the newspapers that a bill was introduced in Parliament to erect a statue in London in memory of my husband.

It will be in Grosvenor Square, I believe, around which were the buildings where most of the United States officials and offices were housed during the war. There the work was carried on which helped the British to withstand the onslaught of the German forces. I hope the people of this country will always remember that without the strength and courage of the British people, led by their Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, we might easily have seen fighting in our own land.

The costs of this statue are to be defrayed by small popular subscriptions throughout the United Kingdom, but the bill to permit its erection was brought in by the Labor government and warmly endorsed by the leader of the Conservative opposition party, Mr. Churchill. The speech he made was beautiful and expressed his genuine affection and feeling.

Between my husband and Mr. Churchill, I am sure, there grew up, during the years of the war, a very deep personal affection. In spite of any differences in tactics or objectives which might have developed between their general staffs or themselves, a loyalty and respect existed which made their differences easier to reconcile.

Both of them knew, I think, that fundamentally their philosophies of government in peacetime were very different. I can remember Mr. Churchill once, in the midst of a discussion, turning to me and saying: "Your family and mine would be the first to be shot if there should ever be a revolution."

I answered that I hoped that would never be necessary. I could remember returning in 1933 from the coal fields of West Virginia, where I felt conditions were at such a point that it needed only a leader for revolution to break out. I told my husband and, before the cold winter came, something was done to get miners and their families out of the tents in which they had lived for years, and to make relief a very different thing from what it had been.

It may be that these years of responsibility during a depression had helped to strengthen in my husband a different kind of peacetime philosophy from that which could be expected of a man who was at once a little older and who lived in a land of tradition far more firmly established and more difficult to change than ours. All British people love their country dearly. We may not like some of their policies; in fact, we may differ profoundly. But we must admire their admirable qualities. When, therefore, they do homage to one of our citizens, we accept it with deep and heartfelt gratitude.

E. R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL