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

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WASHINGTON, Wednesday—Yesterday morning we attended the dedication of the Jefferson Memorial. It is beginning to look very beautiful and someday, when the cherry trees around it bloom in great profusion, people will forget that we were ever afraid of spoiling the landscape around the Basin. It was my first glimpse of the statue, because the day that I had walked over and read the inscriptions on the inside walls of the building, the statue was not in place.

Today it was silhouetted against the skyline and the effect was very impressive. I like very much the President's emphasis on the fact, that it was Jefferson and his generation which could be easily understood by this generation. Both loved peace and freedom and found they had to fight to preserve the freedom they loved.

It is not only in war, however, that we fight for freedom. One fights for freedom in personal contacts and in many phases of civilian life. When the war is over, the four freedoms will not have been won, we shall simply have dominated their more aggressive enemies. At all times, day by day, we have to continue fighting for freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom from fear, and freedom from want— for these are things that must be gained in peace as well as in war.

We are very far in this country from actually facing what the four freedoms mean in our day-by-day actions. If we really live up to them, there are many little habits and customs that we have allowed to grow up among us, which will have to go by the board.

In the afternoon, I went up to the Library of Congress to see a book in which some 5,600 Polish women of Detroit had signed their names in protest against the atrocities committed in Poland by the Germans. I presented this book to the Librarian of Congress, Mr. Archibald MacLeish, so that it may bear witness in the future to the fact that these women, most of them mothers of boys in our own service, were deeply stirred by the suffering of their sisters in Poland.

While there, I stood before the Declaration of Independence at the request of a gentleman whose paper had conducted a nationwide essay contest for college and high school students on Thomas Jefferson. The two winners were photographed with me and told me that they had attended the ceremonies in the morning and were much impressed by them. They will not be among the youngsters who do not know the difference between Thomas Jefferson and Jefferson Davis in historical quizzes of the future.



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, April 15, 1943

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
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Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

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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.