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

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CAMPOBELLO, NEW BRUNSWICK—One wants to pay tribute to the Russian astronauts for their wonder feat, yet at the same time one cannot help wishing that these achievements could be the fruit of joint efforts under the U.N.—with all the members able to participate having some share in these extraordinary new scientific achievements.

What does it really matter who reaches the moon first, unless we mean to use our knowledge for the destruction of each other? Otherwise, whatever knowledge is gained should be of value to every nation in the world.

I saw that some American had said he still believed we would win the race to the moon. Actually, I think it makes very little difference. This is a race that should be won by people working with and under the U.N. We must give up the idea that our new scientific knowledge in space is for military purposes only, that it is of value only either as it serves to enhance military preparations in the Soviet Union or in the U.S., with the implied fear that one or the other of us is going to resort to nuclear war. Instead, this must become an exciting search for world knowledge done by the world under world auspices, and whatever knowledge is acquired must be for the benefit and not the destruction of mankind.

From all we know now, it may take much preparation for any human being to be able to stay on the moon. I have always understood that it was an uninhabitable, burned-out mass. We may find that we are wrong. As knowledge grows, we may find that there are other worlds with other civilizations. This is part of the excitement of space exploration. Perhaps one day we will find that people of another world can take us forward over centuries of research that we have not yet performed.

This is all speculation. We do know that we have here a most beautiful and varied world. Many of us have not yet had an opportunity to enjoy even our own little area of it. We have not yet solved our own problems. We have much to learn in many ways here at home, and at any moment we may expect new knowledge from new scientific discoveries. Why live under the dread that destruction is the only use we will make of this knowledge? Why not have the courage to say to the world: "We want to share and to give all that we know to the U.N. and the peoples of the world. We challenge all other nations to follow our example, and we feel sure that the response from people universally would be a great sign of relief and a great desire to surge forward for mutual good."

For the first time since I have been on Campobello Island after two perfectly beautiful days on the shore, our kind neighbor, Mr. Harry Mattin, took us out on the water, fearing that our good luck in the weather might change.

His boat is a fast one and we were able to circle Deer Island, go through a little passage into St. Andrews Bay and up to St. Andrews itself. Those who had not seen the town made a tour of it, admiring the charming houses and the beautiful flowers. An hour there, and we returned along the American shore.

The charm of a trip of this kind up here is the constant change in the shoreline. Sometimes the rocks come down sheer into the water, just topped by the pine trees. Sometimes the pine trees go to lower and lower rocks, with wild flowers growing on them. There is no monotony because even the islands are like rolling hills, and there are many of them everywhere you look. The friendly consideration extended between the fishing and the pleasure boats is interesting to watch. Our boat slowed down if it had to pass any fishermen so that the wash would be lessened, and there was always a pleasant word and a wave of the hand.

One cannot help thinking, however, that when the sun does not shine and winter winds blow, these islands must be bleak and lonely. Fishing now can almost be an avocation for those to whom it is a livelihood. But fishing in winter with ice-coated decks and rough seas is an arduous business—although there is a freedom about this life which makes many a man find it hard to adapt to any other.


(Copyright, 1962, by United Feature Syndicate,)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Mattin, Harry E., 1896-1988 [ index ]
         American chemist and businessman
         [ NYT ]
  • Campobello Island (N.B., Canada) [ index ]
Other Terms and Topics

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, August 20, 1962

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
[ ERPP bio | LC | VIAF | WorldCat | DPLA | Wikidata | SNAC ]

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
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Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

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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.