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


HYDE PARK, Tuesday—The other day someone said to me that we had come through a year of fear and confusion last year, and perhaps when the people of this country would make up their minds where they stood on the great questions before them the fear would end and the confusion would be no more.

This is so well expressed in a letter that has just come to me that I am going to quote a part of it as an illustration of the spirit of 1950 and what I hope will be the spirit of 1951.

This is how the letter reads:

"As with everyone when he thinks of the terrible consequences of the atomic bomb on our land, followed by Asiatic invasion, my blood chills, and as I look into the innocent, trusting, happy little face of my precious baby and think what a world we have made for her, my heart stops beating for a moment. How can we face such disaster? Why haven't our leaders prepared for such horror? Where is our God?—And then, I begin to think and to scold myself. Didn't the English, I ask myself, take the dreadful bombing of London bravely? Can't we in the United States take a beating, too, and come up fighting? Where is the strength and endurance we are noted for? Slowly, I pull myself together and take an oath before God that I shall not lose my senses and let panic rule.

"Oh, yes, we have been a generous magnanimous nation....We still have our bacon and eggs, our warm homes and nylon stockings...There is no sense in saying we have made it ourselves in America from a wilderness. Who put the coal and iron and oil in the earth beneath the Stars and Stripes? Not you nor I. The one thing we as a nation can take credit for up until now is our great leaders and our unswerving belief in democracy. We have fought before against great odds and have always won, and I say it was so to a great extent because someone put into inspiring words our faith and determination to win.

"It is true tanks and guns and airplanes actually win wars, but the people must support them and the men in them wholeheartedly. All you read and hear nowadays is condemnation of our leaders and their policies; dark prophecies of utter destruction; and of the disintegration or our nation...Let us muster our courage, accept the possibility of destruction and killings on our land, and from there go on until we prove our heritage. We can do it with the right faith and heart in our effort...

"I want to reach the people of our nation and help give them strength....

"There are too many criticizing columnists and parasitic politicians who do nothing but utter their own fears and add to the fears of the public. We want the truth, of course, and we get it every hour on the hour....We need words of greatness and power to awaken our hearts. You may call it whistling in the dark and perhaps you are right, but the boy who whistled in the dark always made it through the cemetery. So let us whistle loud and long, whistle while we work for victory.

(Signed) "Mrs. Shirley Ellen Erickson"

Bravo, Mrs. Erickson! Your child is a lucky child and your husband must be proud of his wife.



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Erickson, Shirley Ellen, 1924- [ index ]
         American housewife?
  • Hyde Park (Dutchess County, N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, January 3, 1951

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.

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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.