Sunday, April 11, 2010

"Men will thank God on their knees a hundred years from now that Franklin D. Roosevelt was in the White House" - The Death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt

On April 12, 1945, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt died. The longest serving president in American history (12 years), Roosevelt passed away suddenly while staying at his Warm Springs, George retreat with former mistress Lucy Mercer Rutherford. He had asked his daughter Anna to arrange for a meeting with Mercer in Georgia while Eleanor was elsewhere. When Eleanor later learned of her daughter’s complicity in reuniting Franklin with the woman who virtually destroyed the romantic part of their marriage, she was devastated.
According to reports, Roosevelt was sitting in his Warm Springs home having his portrait painted by Elizabeth Shoumatoff on April 12th (see above). At around noon, President Roosevelt was served lunch when he said, “I have a terrific headache,” and collapsed onto the floor as a result of a cerebral hemorrhage. He died later that day.
            The nation mourned the loss of the president who ushered them through the Great Depression and World War II deeply. The president had been in declining health in the later years of his life, but the public was kept virtually unaware of his condition making his sudden death shocking to the American people. Here is a newsreel from soon after President Roosevelt’s death showing a brief history of Roosevelt’s involvement in public life and his contribution to American history.


            Here is another newsreel showing President Roosevelt’s funeral train procession from Warm Springs, GA to Washington, D.C., to Hyde Park, NY, President Roosevelt’s family home and final resting place.


            The magnitude of FDR’s loss was not felt solely in the United States, but around the world. Nowhere is this more evident than in the words of one of President Roosevelt’s greatest wartime allies, Winston Churchill. After learning of Roosevelt’s death, Churchill telegraphed Eleanor Roosevelt saying, “ I have lost a dear and cherished friendship which was forged in the fire of war. I trust you may find consolation in the magnitude of his work and the glory of his name.”

Want to learn more about FDR? Visit the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum

[Image via]

No comments:

Post a Comment