MAY 1, 1945
NEW YORK, Monday—Yesterday morning I went to Brooklyn for the christening of one of our new super-carriers, the Franklin D. Roosevelt. There is something overwhelming in the size of such a ship when you see it in drydock before the water is let in to float it. It was the first time I had seen a ship launched in this way, and I don't think it gives one quite the same thrill as when you hear the hammer strokes knocking out the supports and see the ship suddenly begin to move down the ways.
It has one great advantage, however, from the point of view of the person who has to christen it. If the bottle does not break the first time, you can try, try again, and meanwhile the ship is not moving away from you! You need not have any of that terrible sinking of the heart when you wonder if you are going to accomplish your appointed task before the ship leaves you for good.
It is considered bad luck if the bottle does not actually break so I have always suffered in anticipation of failing to get the ship properly christened. As it was, Mrs. John H. Towers, sponsor of the ship, could really enjoy herself yesterday, not only breaking the bottle, but speaking her christening words with great deliberation.
I was glad to have a chance to see some of the workmen as we inspected the ship after the ceremonies. One feels such pride in the magnificence of the task accomplished that it is pleasant to be able to tell the men how much you admire the job they have done.
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Secretary of the Navy Forrestal told me that my husband had gone over the plans for this ship with the greatest interest, and I am sure that in his mind's eye my husband saw it a completed ship. He had the faculty of reading blueprints and seeing a ship or a building as it would ultimately be—just as he could read a road map and actually recognize the lay of the land, when we traveled through any part of the country. That faculty of visualizing what a thing really will look like once you have seen it on paper is, I believe, God-given and rarely acquired!
The picture of that great ship, as the water was slowly let into the basin around her, has stayed in my mind. I am very sure that my husband would be proud and happy to have his name connected with the Navy which he loved, and to feel that his ship will help win the war and keep the peace in the days to come. May God bless her and the men aboard her.
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I noticed that nearly all of the marines who acted as a guard of honor at the Navy Yard were servicemen with many stars on their overseas ribbons. Some of them belonged to the First Division, in which I always have a special interest because they were the first to land on Guadalcanal, and because I actually have seen that spot and know what they went through.
I was back at the apartment by 12:30, and the rest of my day was given up to seeing old friends.