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

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HYDE PARK—On Memorial Day at Hyde Park we always gather in the Rose Garden for the ceremonies which particularly honor my husband but include all of our citizens who have lost their lives in the service of their country.

In the past, the thought of serving our country implied the act of going to war and defending it in a military way. But the time has come for us to realize that serving our country may mean many things which have nothing to do with war.

In fact, the greatest service to our country may be performed by the men who finally formulate ways to control human nature and cease the killing of one another and permit us to live peacefully together.

On this Memorial Day, President Harry Truman was to have come to Hyde Park to join with us and give the Memorial Day address, but because of Mrs. Truman's illness, he was obliged to change his plans.

And in this respect I could not help thinking that in most of our lives it is not the things we do in time of war, but the little things by which we show love and affection for each other, that make the pattern of life.

Mr. Truman could not leave Mrs. Truman and be happy away from her, even though it might have given him an opportunity to have a glimpse of his new grandson. So he stayed with the person who needed him most.

This is the kind of spirit of love which we might think about particularly on Memorial Day. For the world must change if we are going to preserve its existence, and so our patriotism should now be turned towards encouraging and preserving everything which can develop us into people able to live at peace with each other.

Just being able to disarm will not be enough. We must learn how to live with each other in harmony. This will not be easy.

We recognize that we should begin at once the education of our children for peace in the primary schools. But it also must be part of our adult education, because we older people must not look upon patriotism as a dying ideal. We must look upon it as a living thing, capable of keeping the world on an even keel.

We have grown to look on those who die for their country as the greatest heroes. We must not forget them, for they have met the needs of their period of civilization. But we are coming into a new era, I believe, and we had better begin to prepare ourselves to meet it. That is what I think we should be thinking and dreaming of on this Memorial Day.


(Copyright, 1959, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Hyde Park (Dutchess County, N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, May 30, 1959

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.