FEBRUARY 1, 1951
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—Yesterday I was up early. It was the anniversary of my husband's birth and the little boy who was chosen as the poster boy for the March of Dimes laid a wreath on his grave at 9 a.m. I wouldn't have missed being there.
The roads were very icy and we had to allow plenty of time to drive around through the village. My little dogs were left lamenting because they got no walk until after I got home. It was a beautiful day overhead, however, with blue sky and dry, cold air.
After the brief ceremony at the grave, I came back to the house and found everyone busily preparing for the afternoon.
The Hon. Henry Morgenthau Jr. came to lunch, after which he visited the grave when a wreath from the Memorial Foundation was set in place. While doing this we met the group from West Point, which always brings a wreath, and the Roosevelt Home Club, which also lays some flowers and holds a brief ceremony at the grave.
After all the ceremonies the West Point group went through the house and library as usual and later everyone came over to have refreshments with me before starting on their drives back. I always enjoy having the cadets. They are so interested in everything and have such very good manners. They usually appreciate the food, too, and this, for a hostess, is always a pleasure. I had met many of the cadets when I spoke at the forum at West Point and it was a delight to see them again.
In the evening there was a memorial service in the chapel of the Episcopal Church in Hyde Park and the collection was given to the March of Dimes. Lieut. Comdr. George Wilkins gave the address. Having been in the National Park Service as historian at the home where my husband was born and grew up, Comdr. Wilkins, who had never met my husband, has come to know him through contacts with the people who came to the house. His address was remarkably good and an entirely new approach.
He simply told what he had learned from the groups and individuals who visit there during the year. He has been here only two years and a half and yet has seen more than a million people go past the grave. He has been called back into the Navy and is now stationed in Washington, and I was very glad he was allowed to come up to make this address. What he had to say seemed to me historically interesting.
So many people who were in one way or another connected with my husband came to the service last night that I felt he would have been pleased to have the old employees on the place and his friends and neighbors come to remember his birthday in this way and to give their contribution to the March of Dimes, which was the charity closest to his heart. We all know how great the need is this year because of last year's drain on the resources of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis. As we still do not know how to prevent the disease, there is no way of telling whether we will continue to have a rise in the number of patients or whether we can hold any outbreak in check.