My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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[Note: Mrs. Roosevelt arrived back in San Francisco on Thursday, September 23, and flew on to New York, where she arrived yesterday, completing the trip for the Red Cross begun August 17, when she flew from San Francisco to Hawaii. She visited Christmas Island, Penrhyn, Bora-Bora, Aitutaki, Tutuila, the Fiji Islands, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Australia, Wallis and Canton. The column below was written on her trip back from Hawaii to San Francisco.1]

ON PLANE, Sept. 22—You can see miles of soft white clouds in every direction this morning, and here and there you get a glimpse of the calm blue ocean below. The sun is shining and I hope this is a happy augury, for today I reach the "mainland" as the people in Hawaii call it. It is a nice feeling to be back in the U. S., even though I still have some miles to fly before I reach my own particular country.

Yesterday was a busy day in Hawaii. I had three visitors at 8:00, four at 8:30, and from 8:45 to 9:00 I looked over all the entertainments offered the boys from the subs and the fliers, when they come there to rest. The guests of the Royal Hawaiian in the old days, might recognize it now, but I am sure they never enjoyed the swimming more than do the present guests. However, they probably did not punch a punching bag quite so vigorously before and after, or play games of every kind.

Dotted over the grounds are courts for badminton, paddle tennis, volleyball, basketball fields, horseshoe pitching rings, archery and even one set of croquet. I actually saw two boys playing a scientific game. Inside, there is a covered over, but practically open deck, for lounging and dancing in the evenings. There is a stage for shows and, so far as I could see, this was a good place to forget the strain of a "patrol."

At 9:15 the Army called for me and General Richardson took me first to see some "Ranger" training up in the hills. Then we went to the Army hospital, where we lunched and where I had the pleasure of seeing the actress, Miss Judith Anderson. She is travelling for "Camp Shows" and making a great hit with the boys in "Macbeth." Many of them have never seen a real theatrical performance before, nor heard of Shakespeare she told me. They come and beg her to give another show, as they didn't get it all the first time.

The Navy took me over in the afternoon. I went through one of the Navy hospitals, saw the work being done in the harbor, stepped on the deck of a ship which I never expected to see again, visited two different types of ships and talked with some of the men. Finally, I saw the dock from which Jimmy left for the Makin Island raid and the camp he and his men occupied, as well as his name on the door of a room which another nice young officer occupies. Three of the men who used to be in Colonel Carlson's regiment and under Jimmy came to speak to me and said they would like to be with him again, which is always good to hear.

I had dinner with Admiral Nimitz and some of the Naval officers who bear the responsibility for our future success in this area. Then we were off again.

After I get home, it will take me some time to sort out my impressions, to gather up all the information I have been sending back from each place and to decide what are the important things which I have seen and heard, and what are merely individual reactions which have no real bearing on a general picture. I hope, however, if any of you have special questions about the things I have seen, that you will write to me. When I can, I shall try to answer them in this column, or in other ways, if the opportunity presents itself.

Today, I hope to see my granddaughter, and telephone to my daughter and then continue my homeward journey.


     1. United Features Syndicate sent out a subsequent memo dated 25 September 1943 instructing newspaper publishers to withhold information on ER's exact location:
In column scheduled for release Saturday, September 25, sent you today, in Editor's Note at top of page, please KILL the sentence beginning: "She visited, etc...." For SECURITY REASONS, this itinerary must NOT be published. You may add to the preceding sentence: "......on her visit to the South Pacific."