My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand —(Delayed)—As I went through the wards of one of the New Caledonia hospitals, I came to a man with his right arm gone, but he was not downhearted. "I can tie my tie with my left hand already," he said. He knew that he was started on the long trip homeward and he could go on with his job. His next words took my breath away, however, "I come from Dutchess County, Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and when you get home tell the boys at the toll booth on Mid-Hudson Bridge that you saw Nick," so, now my fellow townsmen, I am telling you and please give him a warm welcome for he's a brave man.

Next I found myself talking to a former miner from near Scranton, Pa., and what he feels about Mr. John L. Lewis I would regret to have him feel about anyone else. I rather think his feelings are representative of those of the vast majority of men over here. He had no resentment towards the miners themselves. They were his people and they didn't understand. But against the leadership imposed on them, he was plenty bitter.

These boys don't worry about themselves unless they are just facing some loss and haven't had time to pull themselves together. But one very badly wounded man, with one eye gone and a bad head wound and other injuries, had slow tears running down his cheek. He said, "I'm not wondering about me, but I'm wondering about all my buddies." To my surprise as I went into a Red Cross Club for servicemen I saw a young lieutenant whom I knew, and almost simultaneously met Mr. Robert Atmore, formerly a master at Choate School and now here for the Red Cross.

The men all tell me that one of the curious things about the war is the way your friends turn up at unexpected times. This is especially true of flyers, who certainly get about. I've signed "short snorters" with bills attached that seemed to me to cover about every corner of the world.

As we travelled from place to place in New Caledonia, we passed many trucks loaded with men from every branch of the service, both white and colored. I tried to wave to them and say hello, and was much amused to hear behind me on occasion, "Hello Eleanor!"

The MP's, who have been constantly on the jump looking after us wherever we went, had tacked up in their office a cartoon where the fat lady tells her husband that she thinks I've still covered a few more miles than my husband has. I'm quite sure the MP's thought I had covered them all in one day on New Caledonia.

Admiral Halsey's house boys had arranged flowers very beautifully. New Caledonia is a land where flowers grow abundantly, so even in the midst of war, one may enjoy color, fragrance and charming arrangements. These boys were especially nice to me and brought me a breakfast tray with a rose in my finger bowl and little bouquets to wear. They stood patiently waiting for me to sign their cards with a smile always on their faces.

Each time I came back to the Air Transport Command ship, I got a thrill of pride as I looked at the ship and realized its speed and capacity for transport. It means an increased delivery of all the necessities of war and a greatly improved mail service, which is of such importance to the men. Without this service, the war would not be going so well today.


(Copyright, 1943, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Wellington (New Zealand) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, September 2, 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 2008-06-30

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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.