Roosevelts Remembered

While I was in Washington last weekend to officiate at a family wedding, I took a long walk along the Mall. I was particularly interested in the FDR Memorial which I had never seen.

Incarnation has historic connections with both Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt; Eleanor was confirmed at Incarnation and her marriage to Franklin is recorded in our register. Moreover, the Broad Church mission of our parish in the 19th century heyday of Murray Hill anticipate the noblesse oblige liberalism of both Roosevelts.

Like the neighboring new memorial to Martin Luther King, the FDR memorial is distinctly modern and, to my mind, distinctly odd. A weird statue of sitting Franklin with an even stranger portrait of Eleanor far off–sculptures placed amid random walls of rough stones and quotes from FDR’s speeches.

Perhaps future ages will value this memorial more than I do. They certainly will remember the courage and political grace of Franklin and Eleanor. —J. Douglas Ousley

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One Response to “Roosevelts Remembered”

  1. John says:

    It is up to our generation to continue remembering FDR and his greatness. FDR not only struggled politically, but also suffered from polio; it took him an hour to get fully dressed every day. He walked by pushing his torso forward and with the aid of his son James holding him by the arm. At the time him and the US was underestimated, so much so that when Hitler learned of the attack on Pearl Harbor, he opened champagne bottles euphorically to celebrate with his High Command, proclaiming that the war was essentially over since there was no way the US would ever defeat Japan. He may have been right, but forceful determination, courage, will power and strength of character, all the personal characteristics FDR embodied, ultimately beat the odds and changed the course of the war. A man who stood up when his legs could not support him is certainly not a man to underestimate.

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