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

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HYDE PARK, N.Y.—Because of the late spring I find it hard to realize that Memorial Day is here. All over the country on May 30 people are decorating the graves of war heroes, and in Hyde Park on Memorial Day we always have a memorial service in the rose garden, not only in memory of my husband but in memory of all those from our area who fought in this country's wars.

For many years this homage to our war heroes was paid with a feeling that this kind of heroism probably would be required of our young people in every generation. Yes, we would pray for peace, but the idea of joining together and trying to do something definite to bring peace to the world was only talked about, and then only occasionally and by idealists.

You must belong to the older generation today even to remember very well the efforts made to establish the League of Nations. This was Woodrow Wilson's idea, but we, as a country, refused to join, feeling that we did not yet need to take on international obligations.

By the time we had fought another world war we had grown up sufficiently to be realistic about the fact that a great nation such as ours had to change some of its policies and no longer could shirk international responsibilities.

Now, our young people, when they gather on Memorial Day, know that there is an organization which is developing machinery and trying to learn to use it to keep peace in the world. But they must not be allowed to think that this machinery will work without their active participation.

I think it is increasingly important that our children learn in their schools about the United Nations and its possibilities to save them from the scourge of war. For peace will never be won without sacrifice and hard work, and this lesson should be repeated to all of our people on every Memorial Day.

Peace is a precious thing, hard to attain. It must be fought for by individuals and within every nation before it can be achieved between nations.

We must develop an ability to get along with all of the people within our own borders. We must develop the machinery which does not allow antagonisms to grow to the point where violent conflicts flare between groups within our own country.

Only then will we understand how much more difficult it is to develop and to keep running smoothly the machinery which creates understanding between the people of the world and keeps peace on this earth.

Memorial Day will, I hope, always be a day when we pay homage to our wartime heroes of the past, but I hope that through the years this homage will not be reserved only for those who in the past have given their lives in fighting for their country. It will be more and more important in the future to recognize the service of those whose daily hard work strengthens the peace in our own land and in the world as a whole.


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

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, May 30, 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

  • Brick, Christopher (Editor)
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  • Binker, Mary Jo (Associate 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.

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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.