AUGUST 5, 1949
HYDE PARK, Thursday—I was very glad to read in the newspaper that the White House, at least so far as its outer walls are concerned will be preserved. It would seem very sad to give up the shell of a building that is so closely associated with our history. Now, the necessary structural changes can be made and the walls can be strengthened. But it will be possible to keep to the same beautiful proportions and perhaps to preserve the pattern of the old ceilings and use much of the old woodwork.
When I lived there I always used to like to think that somehow the souls of the men who had struggled in the past for their nation watched over the inhabitants of present days and perhaps even gave them help without the individual involved being conscious of it. I often have said that old houses have a personality gained from the characters of the people who have lived within their walls. I felt very strongly in the White House that anyone living there must be conscious of the past as well as the present. This knowledge must have an effect upon the future.
Someone said to me the other day that the past and the present were very unimportant, that what really was important was the future. Perhaps that is why it seemed important to me to preserve the White House as far as it was possible. Tomorrow must retain the ideals of simplicity and dignity that are impressed on anyone who knows the White House well.
We are going to have a greater appreciation of the value of national monuments, and I am particularly glad to find that we have made another great improvement.
The Statue of Liberty, which means a great deal to a great many people who have come to this country since it was presented by the French school children to the United States, had apparently been allowed to become surrounded by rubbish and junk and various odd buildings. A Congressional appropriation of $500,000 was granted, and today everything is neat and tidy.
The National Park Service apparently has done a good job, judging from the picture I saw. I am sure that few people who have come into our harbor and felt the joy of return to this land of the free will regret the spending of this money to make Bedloe Island a fitting spot for our statue.
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To some of us it seems a long struggle our doctors and scientists have been carrying on to find some way of controlling infantile paralysis. The search has gone on and on and in certain parts of the country the pattern of recurrence must make people want to move away if they have children. Therefore, I was glad to see a photograph in the papers of Surgeon General Leonard A. Scheele conferring with Basil O'Connor, who is president both of the American Red Cross and the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis.
I feel sure that if the Public Health Service works closely with these two other organizations, it will help to accelerate our chance to control this disease.