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

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NEW YORK, Thursday—Today is Thanksgiving Day and, like so many other people in the United States, I will be looking back over the year and counting over in my mind the things for which I am most thankful in this year of 1949.

For my country I am grateful that the United Nations still holds the peoples of the world together and that we are still working for peace with the other nations of the world.

Next, I think I am grateful for the fact that there seems to be among us an ever-growing understanding of the responsibilities carried by the citizens in a democracy. It seemed to me that the results of our last elections showed in many places careful thinking and discriminating voting on the part of the people. The people of a democracy can only control their own government if they take an active part in the formation of policies through the development of public opinion and the election of people to office who truly represent them.

Education for citizenship in a democracy takes time but I feel, as my husband did, that one of the great strengths of our country lies in the willingness of our citizens to participate in the responsibilities inherent in life in a democracy.

On the personal side of the ledger, I am thankful for continued good health. I am thankful, too, for the opportunities to build friendship and affection in a widening circle of family and friends. There has been sadness in the last year, but there also has been much joy and laughter.

Like thousands of others in this great country of ours, I will think of the early Pilgrim Fathers and their celebration of the first Thanksgiving Day. How dark the future must have seemed, how precarious!

There are anxieties today but, certainly, as we look back over the accomplishments in our history we must be of good cheer and say our Thanksgiving Prayer with deep and heartfelt gratitude.

We can, I think, approach the coming year with courage. We are a very big family now in comparison with the little one of that first Thanksgiving Day. I heard a wise psychiatrist say the other day that he wished the parents of the children who came to see him would stop inspiring them with fear and give them a little more sense of the good things that prepare us to meet dangers and adventures with confidence and with hope. Many people suffer more in anticipation than they do under the actual blows of misfortune that fall upon them.

Though I believe that we should face our problems, our own shortcomings and our own weaknesses, I think it is even more important for us to recognize our achievements, the strides that we have made in many directions and the growth of the mind and spirit which has permitted us to be a part of a second world organization striving to achieve the longings of the human heart for brotherhood among men.

May the good Lord look down upon us and the world that we know, and think us worthy of His blessing on this Thanksgiving Day.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • New York (N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, November 24, 1949

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
The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project

Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

Published with permission from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

TEI-P5 edition published on April 28, 2017.

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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.