AUGUST 2, 1948
HYDE PARK, Sunday—Yesterday morning I left Hyde Park about a quarter before nine to drive to Sugar Notch, near Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, attended the memorial ceremonies there in honor of my husband, and was home again by 9:15 in the evening.
The people of this little mining town, when they heard of my husband's death three years ago, placed his name, with a gold star beside it, at the head of their honor roll. At the time, this story was carried in the press because Sugar Notch was the first place in the United States to do so. Later its citizens made a pilgrimage to Hyde Park to place a record of their memorial on my husband's desk, and now they have erected near their court house a memorial to him which I unveiled yesterday.
The people of the little town and some nearby areas gathered in the street for the occasion. Congressman Flood presided and the ceremonies were well arranged and carried through by John A. Riley, chairman of the Roosevelt Memorial Committee. I was glad that I was able to be there. As the Anthracite Men's Choir sang "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," I could not help being reminded that this same American song was sung at the recent unveiling of the statue of my husband in Grosvenor Square, in London.
The memorials in different parts of the world, to a man whom the people of various nations have felt was a personal friend in times of trouble, are reminders not of that man alone but of the things for which he stood. In the case of Sugar Notch, the memorial is to all the men of that area who died in the various wars that have made and kept us free and a united nation. For that reason it is even more important to think not only of the men themselves and their sacrifice, but of the objectives which were served and for which they laid down their lives.
There was no man who fought in this last war who did not hope that he was preventing future wars. That was one of my husband's great hopes and purposes. That was why the plans for the United Nations were made while the war was still going on. He knew better than most people what the difficulties would be in uniting the people of the world and making them work for peace. He had had the experience in his own life of trying to keep the United States a united nation working for common objectives. First we had met a tremendous domestic financial crisis. If all of us had not worked together, it would have been difficult to conquer the problems that we faced in 1932 and '33. But, together, we succeeded not only in recovering from the great depression, but in preparing ourselves to fight our greatest war.
It remains to be seen whether the real war memorial to our war dead of which all the other memorials are only reminders—the building of a peace—can be accomplished by us.