My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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CAMPOBELLO ISLAND,N.B., Thursday—I want to tell a little more about the simple but very beautiful ceremony at the French Embassy on Bastille Day when I received the Medaille Militaire awarded posthumously to my husband. When I walked in, I noticed at once how beautiful the flowers were. Red, white and blue predominated, for those are France's colors as well as ours and Bastille Day is the French "Fourth of July."

As the guests gathered, I was told that the Justices of the Supreme Court, the Cabinet members who served with my husband, and the present Cabinet members, as well as several heads of agencies and the secretaries who had served with my husband in the White House, were all invited. I waited in a room with Ambassador Henri Bonnet until President Truman arrived.

Then we went into the presentation room, where a colored print of the Salisbury portrait of my husband stood on a table. In front of it was a cushion on which was pinned the Medaille Militaire and the flags of France and the United States. The French officers stood behind this table, facing the guests. I was placed in front of them. The Ambassador faced me, read the citation, and then presented the medal to me.

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This is the medal which is given only to soldiers on the field of battle. I know my husband would have prized it highly, and feel sure he would have been grateful to the Government of France and the people of France for wanting to give him this most precious decoration.

When the ceremony was over, we posed for the cameramen, who are, on the whole, as severe taskmasters as they were when I saw them more often. I think if someone is ever at a loss to choose a dictator for the USA, they should turn at once to camera and newsreel men! They ordered the President and the French Ambassador around just as they would Mr. Smith or Mr. Jones.

I felt it was very kind of the President to attend the ceremony. It was very pleasant to see so many familiar faces and to know that so many people who worked with my husband had come to Washington for this occasion.

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When we stopped off in Ogunquit, Maine, on our way to Campobello Island, we found that my daughter-in-law Faye, having lived through the first night of her performance in "State of the Union," was still quite excited at having so many of her family, including her husband, watching her the second night. Quite evidently the audience, as well as her family, enjoyed her interpretation of the wife of a semi-reluctant Republican candidate for President. I had seen the play on Broadway, but I think Faye's interpretation of the role is even better than the one I saw before, perhaps because the lines are lines which Faye herself would find sympathetic. I have always liked the play, and it is easy to keep it up-to-date and stimulating to all audiences.

E.R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL