My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

NEW YORK, Tuesday—Last night, I enjoyed very much "The Carnival of Animals", by Saint-Saens, as played by the Dutchess County Philharmonic Orchestra, with Major John Warner and Mrs. LytleHull at the two pianos. It always seems to me like a delightful and amusing extravaganza. The composer must have had such fun writing and finding ways to express all the different animals in sound. There are beautiful bits of haunting melody, which seem to give just the right touch to set off the humor.

It seemed strange to be in Poughkeepsie and not to go home, but my cottage is closed for the winter and the big house is only open when due notice is given.

The train I took to New York City was an hour late in arriving at Poughkeepsie, so I sat in the station for a time and watched the usual come and go of passengers and read a magazine from cover to cover. I found Mr. H. W. Tomlinson's article, which deals with our after-war attitude, well worth considering. He fears that we and the British, merely because of having to fight the war, may sink into some of the very attitudes we are trying to wipe out.

One paragraph stands out in its emphasis on what each of us must contribute as an individual:

"Amid the uproar, one meets persons speaking as citizens of the world. They express, in what seems to be chaos, their sense of individual responsibility; and certainly without that understanding of civility even a democracy would die. The great city is the city of the best men and women. Its rulers cannot make it great. If the right spirit it is not in its tenements, then the city is as dead as Babylon, or deserves to be. And if ever there was a day in the story of humanity when the common man must summon his wit and will to decide which way history shall go, it is now. All depends on him. Unless that fellow chooses to refashion this earth nearer to the heart's desire, civilization must perish. The danger is not that he is unworthy and unwilling to choose, but that he has never understood history to be but the story of himself and from as far back as the day when he shaped flints. History is, in all its lessons, no more than the imperfect reflection of his apprehension of good and evil."

A little further on he says: "We may fairly say of the American and British peoples that they regard war with horror. But horror of war, however, does not preserve peace." No, only a passion for justice and a determination to see it function the world over will preserve peace. Each one of us, as individuals, must feel this passion and insist on giving it expression."