The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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WASHINGTON, Wednesday—I started this day with a committee meeting at 9:00 o'clock, at which all the government agencies met to find ways in which they could cooperate.

From there, I went to a meeting of the District of Columbia social agencies. They have gathered a group of volunteers who have been taking a course in an effort to prepare themselves for work which would necessitate a knowledge of all the available resources in the community. This kind of knowledge is valuable, and I think it is a good preparation for the type of activity which defense work asks of us all.

There was a time when many people thought that the word defense meant simply physical protection. This could be given by the army, navy and air force, plus the police and fire departments. Even the air raid warden, who became a recognized person in defense through our knowledge of what had happened in England, was looked upon primarily as a person who would see that lights were out and people were notified where fires were to be extinguished.

Now it is understood at last, that real defense begins in every home. The insecure home is a menace to the security of the community. Therefore, the air raid warden, who knows every family in his or her area, must know upon what agencies to call to meet the needs of each and every person in it who is not able to meet them himself. The job is not just policing, it is social service as well.

I am told that some people have an idea that this has nothing to do with defense. They say it is really only a way of putting over on an unsuspecting community, in the guise of defense, some of the very bad things which go by the name of "New Deal Measures." These people, I am afraid, are putting the cart before the horse.

If there had never been a New Deal, we would have had to accept this conception of defense. We have learned from London that it is the insecure who rush in large numbers to congregate together in air raid shelters. They must be given security or their fears run riot.

I had a reception this afternoon for the foreign students of the various universities around Washington. I looked at the young faces and thought of all they and their countries are now going through, and my heart went out to them in sympathy and yet in hope for the future.



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Washington (D.C., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, December 18, 1941

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project

Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

Published with permission from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

MEP edition publlished on 2008-06-30

TEI-P5 edition published on 2017-04-28

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.