SEPTEMBER 23, 1954
NEW YORK, Wednesday—I learned another lesson about New York traffic Monday afternoon. The eastside highway is undergoing repairs and construction work and no matter what hour you want to go out of town by that route, it would apparently be wiser to choose some other way to go!
I allowed what I thought was ample time to make a 2:45 plane from La Guardia Field and I missed it by fifteen minutes because the traffic jam on the highway held us up for what seemed an unconscionable time, and just as we reached the bridge the safety bars came down to let a boat through! I took the next plane which, luckily, left a half hour later for Boston, after telephoning the kind hosts who were meeting me. On arrival I found that I was really on time, after all, for everything they had planned.
On the way over I sat by a young man who seemed rather weary. Just before we reached Boston, he asked me if one of my grandsons would be back at Andover this autumn. I told him no, that he had attended summer school and was going to the University of Colorado this autumn. Then the young man told me he was finishing the trip back to school, having come through from California, and he remarked wearily: "Going out is very much easier than coming back."
I made my return plane very easily. I was back in New York by midnight and glad to find that our weather seemed to be clearing up, but on Tuesday morning it looked again like rain.
* * *
Two hours on the plane Monday night gave me a chance to finish that most delightful book by Hermann Hagedorn called "The Roosevelt Family of Sagamore Hill." This is mostly the story of a man who loved life and who lived it with a zest and energy few people possess. People loved him and people hated him, as is inevitable with all great personalities. He felt himself identified with the people of his country and then he suffered because they seemed to shut him out completely. He was a hero, a great leader, and then he felt that he was forgotten and of no value.
There is one great thing to be learned from this man's life. If you do what you think is right, the people may judge you wrong but in the long run the man who can be trusted to stand for what he believes in is trusted by the people, and this is an essential for any real leader. Repudiation is temporary, but being false to one's own standards might well mean permanent oblivion. Because he was true to his own beliefs, Theodore Roosevelt will live in the history of his country and in the hearts of his countrymen.