JANUARY 30, 1961
HYDE PARK—At this season of the year the activities of two organizations always remind me of my husband's birthday. One is the National Foundation, which on his birthday always brings to Hyde Park the poster child of the year who poses for a photograph at his grave, where the child lays a wreath.
The National Foundation no longer raises money solely in the interests of polio, since that disease can be more or less controlled today. There is only the obligation to carry on the care of those who have partially recovered from a past attack or who may not be immunized by the new serum and may be in danger. The foundation has therefore undertaken, in addition, to do research in arthritis, which cripples so many children and is responsible often for heart trouble and other ailments. It has thus carried on my husband's great desire to help children crippled in any way.
There is another organization founded soon after his death—Americans for Democratic Action—which was formed by people dedicated to the ideals of government which my husband represented to them. Needless to say, it brought together men and women of varied interests, for in government as in many other lines my husband worked on many different things. As a result, there were myriads of people interested in education, in housing, in better government and in a hundred and one different areas who felt they had been close to him and who wanted to perpetuate his line of thinking in their particular field. To draw these together and have them work for broad principles of government has been quite a remarkable achievement; I have in fact been astonished that ADA has found the leaders and the supporters to continue this organization through the years.
Somewhere around the date of my husband's birthday they raise most of their budget by having Roosevelt Day dinners in many parts of the country. It is not possible for me to attend all that I am invited to, but I always try to attend the national dinner given in New York, where I live. I enjoy it particularly because I am always allowed to be seated at the U. N. table. This year our new ambassador, Adlai Stevenson, will join me there as host. I hope that many of the new member states will be present and that this will provide us with an opportunity to meet more of the leaders who represent their country in the U. N.
This year the Rev. Martin Luther King will receive the distinguished service award on behalf of his work on civil rights. It will be presented to him by Gov. Herbert H. Lehman, who has so vigorously championed civil rights and civil liberties. Gov. Lehman has never faltered in his interest and belief in ADA, and I have always been particularly grateful for his support. one is always sure that whatever he believes in must conform to certain high standards because of his own high ideals.
President Kennedy has many times in the past been a sponsor of the national dinner and we are particularly happy this year that he is being identified as the honorary national sponsor. The chairmen are Mrs. Thomas K. Finletter and Roger L. Stevens, and the speakers will be Senator Joseph S. Clark of Pennsylvania and John Kenneth Galbraith of Harvard, the author of "The Liberal Hour" and "The Affluent Society." Their subject is "A Decade of Challenge," and both of these men are especially suited by the record of their lives and of their work to speak with authority on this occasion.
What they say may mean a great deal to the guests from foreign countries present, for men of ideals today have a great deal to contribute in setting the standard by which the new Administration will be judged. It is easy to say that you will meet and seek new frontiers, but it does not always follow that the direction these new frontiers take will be beneficial to the world.