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

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NEW YORK—I have just returned to New York from the Middle West. While in Des Moines, Iowa, I had a chance to read the newspapers thoroughly and noticed that the Register and Tribune of that city publishes more national and international news than most newspapers in the Midwest.

This newspaper gave extensive coverage to our meeting of the American Association for the United Nations. This was no simple, single event. We arrived before 2 p.m. and within an hour I was standing before the Iowa bankers' convention meeting in our hotel as a surprise guest, explaining why the United Nations needs the AAUN in this country and why the AAUN needs the support of all citizens.

How successful I was I shall never know, because after the 15-minute talk I was transported as rapidly as possible to the Governor's mansion, where we had been due 15 minutes earlier.

Poor Governor and Mrs. Herschel C. Loveless had been receiving people there for well over an hour! And the crowd kept coming until we left at 5 p.m. They said we had shaken hands with well over 1,000 people, and the poor Governor must have greeted many more.

One hour later we were dressed and on our way to a dinner of organizations interested in the United Nations. There I spoke again briefly and then went to the statehouse where the Governor presided over an hour of formal ceremonies in honor of the U. N.'s birthday.

I thought the ceremonies were dignified and well conceived. A responsive reading was conducted by a young minister in which the religions of the world gave their answer to the need of a peaceful world. It was remarkable how similar the responses were, whether you took your text from the Christian, Jewish, Mohammedan, or Hindu religion.

After the program we went back to the hotel, feeling that the U.N.'s birthday had been well celebrated, at least in Des Moines.

Mrs. Dorothy Schramm, whose energy and organization work has resulted in the formation of many AAUN chapters in Iowa, told us of many other cities that were holding celebrations and of some of the imaginitive programs that were being carried out.

Interesting to me, in particular, was one in which the newspapers and groups highlighted the value of the World Court. They acted out a dispute over an island in the river between Iowa and Illinois, and many people who did not read the newspapers too carefully thought that this was reality rather than fiction. As the day progressed, they became very anxious about the outcome.

Early Wednesday morning we flew into Chicago in the rain, and on our way from there to Akron, Ohio, it seemed as though we were going to be enveloped in fog. But suddenly the air cleared and we could look down from 13,000 feet and see the well-ordered landscape of Ohio.

One of the ladies who met us in Akron reminded me that she had seen me last many years back—I think it was in the winter of 1944 in Racife, Brazil, where she had greeted me at the USO club. That reminded me that I had talked with a boy at the airfield there who that day was on his way, after home leave, to rejoin other pilots flying the Burma Road route from India into China.

As we were talking, this boy told me of his flight home and how, looking down at the peaceful, neat and tidy homesteads and fields of Ohio, he had wanted to cry out to the people: "How fortunate you are! How much you have in comparison to the areas of the world where I have been!"

I often wish that the American boys who were in so many areas of the world at that time could have taken time out to tell us of the hardships they had seen during the war. It certainly would have prepared us better for a sense of responsibility when, at the end of the war, we had to assume the heavy burdens of leadership.

The first thing in Akron was a press conference. But after that we had a period of quiet before we left at 5:45 p.m. for dinner at which I spoke for the organizations that had helped to celebrate U.N. Week. Then at 8 p.m. there was a mass meeting in the Armory.


(Copyright, 1958, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, October 24, 1958

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.