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

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ST. LO, France—We had the pleasure Monday noon of lunching with U.S. Ambassador and Mrs. Douglas Dillon. The only other guests were British Ambassador Sir Gladwyn and Lady Jebb whom I had not seen since they left the U.S.

The two men were, of course, thinking primarily about the Suez situation and I asked the ambassador if it might have been better had we turned earlier to the United Nations. He responded that, of course, we would be subject there to the veto in the Security Council.

But I am not sure that we would have been any worse off than we are now, when all the five powers know is that they will have a chance to meet President Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt and decide what the next steps can be.

In the afternoon, the famous flea market proved of great interest to my grandsons for a short time. Then they walked along the Seine, looking at various book and print stalls.

Tuesday morning, bright and early, we started on our short motor trip and I am impressed with the amount of building that is going on in this part of France.

Rouen looks much improved and the cathedral has been practically restored. We stopped to look at the memorial to Jeanne d'Arc near the place where she was burned and then drove to Honfleur where, at the Ferme St. Simeon, we had a very good lunch.

In fact, I thought the young people had had so much to eat that they would not have an appetite for dinner, but we had a most elaborate dinner at the Prefecture and I think they ate everything just as it came up.

After lunch we visited Bayeux, seeing the cathedral and the famous Bayeux tapestry which tells the story of William the Conqueror's landing in England. It is a remarkable piece of work, and I also was interested in the collection of lace on the first floor of the Museum. Most of the towns in this area were destroyed in World War II, but Bayeux was untouched.

Our next stop was Omaha Beach where one can still see some of the boats which were beached on D-Day. All the steel on them is being salvaged, but the hulks will remain until they disintegrate.

We visited the American cemetery there and the war memorial. I liked the memorial very much, but I still think the most impressive one I know is at Chateau Thierry.

In the Omaha cemetery General Theodore Roosevelt Jr., who was killed at Utah Beach, is buried, and the body of his youngest brother, Quentin, an aviator who died in 1918, has been brought from its former resting place to lie here beside his brother. The site of this cemetery is very beautiful and the planting of the flowers and the upkeep generally is well done.

The chapel is not yet quite finished but will be simple and beautiful when it is ready for use.

It seemed fitting that our soldiers should lie looking out over the sea they had to cross before they could help liberate this land, which had to be freed from Nazism to keep our own land free from the scourge of totalitarianism.

The director in charge of the cemetery told me that about six or eight families of the boys buried there came every week during the summer to look at their graves.

But I am surprised that these cemeteries are not visited by many more Americans who aren't looking for particular graves but who want to see what is done to honor those who died to protect us all.

I brought my grandsons there because I think all young Americans should not be allowed to forget the sacrifices of a previous generation and all of us should take an interest in seeing that the small organization which cares for the cemeteries and the battle monuments of our country is always supported with interest and affection.

We spent Tuesday night as guests of the Prefect de La Manche at the Prefecture, and got off the next morning on our second day's journey.

E. R.

(Copyright, 1956, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Saint-Lô (France) [ index ]
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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, September 1, 1956

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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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.