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

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NEW YORK, Wednesday—I left New York City yesterday morning while most of the people still seemed to be slumbering. In spite of the somewhat foggy atmosphere, the plane took off promptly for Washington.

I reached the Washington Cathedral in plenty of time for Mr. Early's funeral and sat for a while looking at the beautiful–stained glass windows. The colors in some of the windows in the cathedral are as beautiful as I have seen anywhere.

I always have a curious sense as everybody sits and waits for a funeral service to begin. The coffin, particularly a flag-draped coffin, seems particularly alone and already set apart from the flow of our everyday world.

After the service in the cathedral a full military ceremony took place at Arlington Cemetery. A military funeral is always so moving. Perhaps, that is so because it reminds you that those same rifle volleys and bugle of taps have been a part of the last rites for so many thousands of American boys in distant parts of the world.

In this case, Steve Early, a fine public servant who occupied positions of trust in the government, was being honored for the last time. But at the same time he was joining the great soldiers and statesmen who lie side by side in Arlington Cemetery, together with thousands of plain fighting men, many of whom died overseas in keeping their country free.

I cannot help wondering whether Mr. William Randolph Hearst's death will affect in any way the policy of the papers which he owned.

One thinks of certain people as having played on the fears of others to build up isolationist feeling in this country. That, it seems to me, is what the Hearst press, among other newspapers, has done. Unfortunately, one cannot build the desire to cut oneself off from the rest of the world without at the same time creating a fear which makes friendship or even ordinary goodwill among nations impossible. So, the isolationism soon turns into aggression.

I have heard people in this country begin by saying, "we have enough to look after at home," and "we should not concern ourselves with what goes on in the rest of the world." In the next breath they would be advocating the use of the atom bomb immediately on Russia or on the Chinese Communists in Manchuria.

These two ideas do not make much sense. If we want to leave the rest of the world alone we also want the rest of the world to leave us alone. The moment you take aggressive action your chance of being left in peace and quiet has vanished.

One must acknowledge, however, that Mr. Hearst has been a great figure in his day. Though one may not have agreed with him, there were things about him that commanded some respect and admiration.

I was particularly charmed and impressed years ago by his mother. A more delightful woman I have rarely seen. To hear her tell of her early trips West with the children awakened an appreciation of our pioneer women who went to live in the West in the early days and made us all proud of what they had established.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • New York (N.Y., United States) [ index ]
Other Terms and Topics
  • Isolationism
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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, August 16, 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.

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.