My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK—This is Memorial Day, and in our little Village of Hyde Park, as in villages and towns all over the United States, people will visit cemeteries to decorate the graves of their loved ones and of those who died in our armed forces so that the rest of us might live in a free United States.

In our village we will have, in addition, some ceremonies under the auspices of the Roosevelt Home Club in memory of my husband. He and many other men who lived through the 1930s and 1940s died for their country, too, in order that this nation might be strong and free.

They worked and planned and many times they went to sleep wornout and woke the next day to start all over again try to find solutions to the ever-varying questions that came up from day to day. They were never too tired and they never were despondent; they always knew that the people of the country would somehow master the problems of the depression, and later of the war.

While these problems were being met, our leaders were thinking of the after-war problems trying to plan for some of the machinery that might help us through the difficult days ahead. Now we are living in those difficult days. We have the machinery of the United Nations which we and 59 other nations are trying to use to create better understanding among the peoples of the world and which eventually we hope will help us keep the peace of the world.

Memorial Day is a good day to think over one of the main things for which our men have died in every war.

They fought for a strengthened United States on our own soil in the early days, more recently throughout the world during World War II and now they have been fighting in Korea with the men of other nations, banded together under the United Nations. They died that we might remain free in this country, and unafraid. We, the citizens of the U.S., should think over on this Memorial Day very seriously whether at home we are doing all we can to preserve this freedom.

One cannot be free and a slave to fear, and there are forces abroad today that are forcing our people to live in fear. Most of us know that there must be machinery and men trained to be constantly alert to protect the United States from unrecognized enemies who would do us harm.

I think, however, our best protection is through education and through making our own country such a satisfactory place in which to live that there would be no temptation for anyone to think they would be better off under any other form of government or any other way of life.

Subversive influences are only dangerous when there are discontented people ready to believe lies and false promises. Only education and real belief in our own country can be satisfactory defense against such subversive influences.

On this Memorial Day I think we should pledge ourselves to hold fast to that which our fallen heroes gave us, to cherish our liberties, and to work for the ideals of democracy so that by example we can persuade the world that we have found the way through which all men can have the greatest opportunity for freedom, peace, justice and happiness.

E.R.
PNews, NSJ, 30 May 1952