My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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London, England—Sunday morning the church bells all over Great Britain pealed to celebrate the victory in Africa and also to remind all God fearing people of their duty to give thanks to Him whose power is greater than that of mere human beings.

I had some guests for early breakfast and one or two callers before and after the church hour.

I want to thank again the many people whose thought and planning made it possible for me to see so much in such a short time. Our own people in the Embassy, in the Army, in the Navy and in the Air Force have given me every possible cooperation. Without their thoughtfulness and careful arranging, many trips would have been impossible and much that I wanted to do could never have been accomplished. I was particularly glad to receive a letter from young Colonel Raff of the Paratroops which must have been written just after our visit and just before they took off to play their exciting part in the African campaign.

Admiral Stark, General Eisenhower and General Hartle and their fellow officers must have sometimes wished that a lady with a code name did not need so much attention, but no one from top to bottom ever gave me this feeling. Kindness, consideration and goodwill seemed to be everywhere present.

I must try to thank also the British friends who gave so much time and thought to what I should see and where I should go, from the Queen and the Prime Minister to Mrs. Elsa Dunbar whom Lady Reading assigned from the WVS to help us out with information whenever we needed it. Every organization, every factory head, every military group, not only allowed me to see, but took infinite pains so that I might see, anything that was of interest or that might be useful to us in our war effort. They realize, as, of course, I do also, that there are many things which will have to be done differently or which may not be done at all in the United States. On the other hand, there may be things which we will need to do which have not been necessary in Great Britain, but I have seen many things which I hope may be of value now and which I feel sure will give us some inspiration for the future.

If it were only the spirit of the people of this country which one feels everywhere here, I should feel grateful for having experienced it. There is something contagious about an enthusiasm which makes you work ten hours a day uncomplainingly, which carries you through three winters of blackout, which makes light of the losses brought about through bombing and which still has enthusiasm left to welcome new Allies. In every American Red Cross canteen, in England, Scotland and Ireland, there is never any lack of local volunteers to help behind the counter in the cafeterias, at the reception desk, in the library, anywhere where they can be useful. I found a group in a Red Cross center the other day mending soldiers' socks, sewing their chevrons on their coats and doing other little odd jobs which one would get done at home. This interest carries over to merchant marine men as well. There were volunteers at their club ready to help the boy whose ankle was broken when he was blown from a sky-light and landed on the deck of a ship. I think that my faith in the goodness and the strength of human beings has been greatly enhanced and that is something for which I am deeply grateful in these days.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • London (England, United Kingdom) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, November 18, 1942

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

  • Brick, Christopher (Editor)
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  • Regenhardt, Christy (Associate Editor)
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  • Black, Allida M. (Editor)
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  • Binker, Mary Jo (Associate Editor)
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  • Alhambra, Christopher C. (Electronic Text Editor)
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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
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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 draft version of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library. My Day column draft dated November 17, 1942, FDR Library, Hyde Park, NY
TMsd, 17 November 1942, AERP, FDRL