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


NEW YORK, Thursday—I wonder how many people read Joseph Alsop's column from Korea on Wednesday morning. It was thrilling to me because it pointed out the fine things in our people.

Mr. Alsop did not gloss over the fact that many of the boys he saw, who showed these fine qualities under the stress of war, might at times under the ease of everyday life at home not show their best qualities. He said what I think we should all remember, namely, that our people, as a whole, drawn from every walk of life, are capable of much higher things than their leaders often give them credit for. Our leaders must be impressed by the fact that the public should always be given the whole truth. The people of America have shown that they have the capacity to meet any challenge—and meet it whether it is put to them in the days of peace or in the days when they are at war.

President Theodore Roosevelt once said to me when I was very young that in spite of the horrors of war it brought out in people qualities which were dormant most of the time. Therefore, he maintained, there were values in wartime which could not be evoked in peacetime. I rebelled at the time and I still rebel at the thought that war alone can bring out the best in people.

It is the challenge of a great emergency which makes our young people, during a war, meet hardships and discomfort with "salty humor," as Joe Alsop puts it, and perform feats of unselfish devotion and of unswerving courage. Somehow there must be a challenge that can be put to us as free citizens of the greatest democracy in the world, which will call forth those same qualities in the days of peace.

The State Department has published in a little pamphlet the address made by Secretary of State Dean Acheson before the United Nations General Assembly on September 20, 1950. It is called, "The Peace the World Wants," and I wish it could find its way into every home in this country. I think it would inspire us to work for the United Nations and to back up the suggestions made by the Secretary of State, which are the first steps in a constructive plan for peace.

Tuesday night I went to the theatre, the first time this season, and I felt very gay indeed and was glad that the play was a comedy. Celeste Holm does a beautiful job of acting in "Affairs of State" and is well supported by the cast. Right in front of me sat one of my United Nations colleagues, Senator John Sparkman of Alabama with his wife and some friends.

They asked me afterwards whether the writers of the play had to have permission before using the names of living people. I really don't know whether they do or not, but in this case the use of our names did none of us any harm!

On Wednesday we held our first session of Committee #3. Our officers were elected and the first three points of our agenda were accepted. However, I am afraid we are going to run into difficulty because the secretariat does not have the Russian translation ready.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, September 29, 1950

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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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.