APRIL 23, 1955
NEW YORK —So far I have said nothing about Professor Einstein's death—but that hasn't been because I didn't want to. His recent passing came as a shock to me just as it must have come to anyone who had the privilege of meeting this unforgettable personality.
Years ago he and Mrs. Einstein stayed with us briefly in the White House. He seemed to me a gentle person, but, on the other hand, where his beliefs and convictions were concerned he showed both vigor and courage.
In the last few years he used to tell his more timid friends that he found himself obliged to engage in "subversive" activities! This was, of course, a reaction to Senator McCarthy's efforts which so closely resembled some of the things he had watched come about in Germany and which he certainly did not want to see fasten themselves on the life of his adopted country.
I am unable, of course, to speak of Professor Einstein as a scientist, but I would like to pay him my tribute as a human being. Great honors, much fame and wide acclaim came his way but these things never turned his head. He was a simple, sincere, courageous human being.
The world is the poorer for his going but his memory will live on, both in his fields of interest and in the hearts of those who admired the way he stood for his beliefs.
In March of 1953 the United States made a gesture, a small and friendly gesture, to the people of Japan which I am sure will bring back to us much good feeling.
During the war Tokyo's 3,000 cherry trees of 70 varieties all died because of a blight and of wartime neglect. From that mother stock in 1912 there had been sent to us 3,000 saplings from the famous grove on the banks of the Arakawa, in Tokyo's Adachi ward. For many years now people from all over the country have gone to Washington to see the cherry blossoms around the Potomac Tidal Basin.
The people of Tokyo missed their cherry trees and their spring blossoms, and so in 1952 we sent 40 grafts, five each from eight varieties by air to Tokyo. They were grafted from 100 seedlings in the Metropolitan nursery. Last November they were replanted, together with 3,000 aboriginal seedlings which were grown separately, along the banks of the Arakawa. This year the grafts from Washington are blossoming for the first time on seedlings which are almost 13 feet high.
The people of Japan love beauty, and I think this little exchange may do a great deal to cement the friendship between our two countries.
(Distributed by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)
About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, April 23, 1955
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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