R is for Eleanor Roosevelt

April 21, 2015

For the A to Z blogging challenge I’ve decided to blog about the 1940′s. And in the spirit of the 1940′s, at the end of the month, I’ll be giving away an ebook copy of one of my favorite books, Summer at Tiffany, to one of my newsletter subscribers (sign-up on the sidebar if you are so inclined.) It’s a light-hearted memoir of two college girls let loose in New York City for a summer. What a hoot.
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Since I choose President Roosevelt’s D-Day Prayer for my “P” day, I thought it would be interesting to hear from his wife, Eleanor Roosevelt. She wrote a daily newspaper column called My Day, which was essentially a diary of her public life. The D-Day prayer went out on June 6, 1944, but in her “My Day” column that day, she spoke of events which had occurred the previous day. So, I pulled up the next posting, on June 7th, 1944. This is what she wrote:

June 7, 1944

WASHINGTON, Tuesday—So at last we have come to D-Day, or rather, the news of it reached us over the radio in the early hours of the morning on June the 6th. The first people I saw seemed very much excited. Curiously enough, I have no sense of excitement whatsoever. It seems as though we have been waiting for this day for weeks, and dreading it, and now all emotion is drained away.

All the preparation that has gone on, the endless photographing, the endless air raids, the constant practice of the men in landing, or in whatever their specialty may be—this is now ended. The fact that boys you know have been waiting with an almost desperate feeling for this day, when all their training would be tested, made you dread it and yet hope for it.

The time is here, and in this country, we live in safety and comfort and wait for victory. It is difficult to make life seem real. It is hard to believe that the beaches of France, which we once knew, are now places from which, in days to come, boys in hospitals over here will tell us that they have returned. They may never go beyond the water or the beach, but all their lives, perhaps, they will bear the marks of this day. At that, they will be fortunate, for many others won’t return.

This is the beginning of a long, hard fight, a fight for ports where heavy materials of war must be landed, a fight for airfields in the countries in which we must operate. Day by day, miles of country may be taken, lost and retaken. That is what we have to face, what the boys who are over there have been preparing for and what must be done before the day of victory. That day is coming surely. It will be a happy and glorious day. How can we hasten it?

The best way in which we can help is by doing our jobs here better than ever before, no matter what these jobs may be. Every unauthorized and unwarranted strike is an added danger to the boys over there, and a man or woman leaving a war plant today adds to some soldier’s load. But on the other hand, we should remember that every employer who forces his employees into a position from which they see no way out except to strike is as guilty as the strikers. I have seen so many condemnations of strikers, but I have seen little recognition that there are always two sides to any dispute. Therefore the responsibility for whatever happens today which slows up production, which we need so desperately in every theater of the war, does not lie with one group alone.

E. R.
(COPYRIGHT 1944 BY UNITED FEATURE SYNDICATE, INC.)

3 responses to R is for Eleanor Roosevelt

  1. Eleanor Roosevelt was such a wonderful First Lady, and an overall leader as well. Her writing seems so genuine, not the type of thing some speech-writer or handler gave her to say.

    • I was thinking the same thing. Not polished, but she go to the point, and she wrote daily. I think she would have been a blogger had she been First Lady today.

  2. Very interesting. I didn’t know plant workers were striking during the war. Guess the propaganda films are still doing their job. All the people willingly moving into the factories to help the war effort. Yes, Eleanor Roosevelt was a great First Lady.