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

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WASHINGTON, Wednesday—I visited the "Gardens On Parade" at the New York World's Fair this morning. They are delightful and I enjoyed every minute there. The little "Garden of Today" is small enough to give an intimate feeling, and I should have liked to sit down on the little bench and remain to read a book or do some sewing.

I never saw a greater variety of roses. I am afraid that my first love among roses is the common and plebian kind—the old-fashioned yellow rose bush covered with small roses and the many colored little roses which bloom all through the summer. They are associated with the garden of my childhood, where my grandmother used to work, and they will always remain my favorite.

Mrs. Harold Irving Pratt and all the other ladies connected with the gardens were very charming. They sent me away with a sweet little corsage of carnations, which gave off the most delicate perfume all the way back to Washington.

On the plane, I sat next to a very interesting gentleman, an expert on lighting. We talked about the lighting of galleries, for he is interested in the work being done in the Mellon Gallery. Then we progressed to the lighting of homes and stage lighting and the relationship which light may have in the creation of atmosphere, and how important that atmosphere may be in effect on human beings.

I read Dorothy Thompson's column on the way down. While I think she is probably right and there is nothing undemocratic in compulsory military service, I think we have to reckon with a very deep-seated feeling which many of us have fostered in the past few years, namely, that we connect compulsory military training with a desire for aggression.

In the case of very small nations, this obviously could not be true, but in the case of any great nation, military training and armament has always meant to us the possibility that people would desire to aggrandize. Therefore, it seems to me that we should devote ourselves to developing in our young people, skills which would be useful in either peace or war. They should desire universal service because, if we believe in democracy, it is worth serving. Perhaps, in the future, we can trust ourselves when we give this service to our democracy not to be afraid of losing that democracy through militarization. A willingness to discipline ourselves and accept whatever life may hold in store for us is all-important now. The thing which troubles me today, is meeting people who are worried about what the future may bring. We can be sure of nothing in this world, certainly of no material thing, but whatever we are as individuals, can not be taken away from us.

That is the security we should give young and old alike—a security in our own ability to meet whatever comes, with courage, with constancy and self abnegation.



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Washington (D.C., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, June 13, 1940

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

  • Brick, Christopher (Editor)
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  • Black, Allida M. (Editor)
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  • Binker, Mary Jo (Associate Editor)
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  • Alhambra, Christopher C. (Electronic Text Editor)
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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project

Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

Published with permission from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

TEI-P5 edition published on April 28, 2017.

XML master last modified on: June 9, 2017.

HTML version generated and published on: May 3, 2022.

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