Dedication by Radio of the Will Rogers Memorial in Claremore, Oklahoma. Hyde Park, New York.
This afternoon we pay grateful homage to the memory of a man who helped the nation to smile. And after all, I doubt if there is among us a more useful citizen than the one who holds the secret of banishing gloom, of making tears give way to laughter, of supplanting desolation and despair with hope and courage. For hope and courage always go with a light heart.
There was something infectious about his humor. His appeal went straight to the heart of the nation. Above all things, in a time grown too solemn and somber he brought his countrymen back to a sense of proportion.
With it all his humor and his comments were always kind. His was no biting sarcasm that hurt the highest or the lowest of his fellow citizens. When he wanted people to laugh out loud he used the methods of pure fun. And when he wanted to make a point for the good of all mankind, he used the kind of gentle irony that left no scars behind it. That was an accomplishment well worthy of consideration by all of us.
From him we can learn anew the homely lesson that the way to make progress is to build on what we have, to believe that today is better than yesterday and that tomorrow will be better than either.
Will Rogers deserves the gratitude of the nation and so it is fitting that the dedication of this Memorial should be a national event, made so by the magic of radio. The American nation, to whose heart he brought gladness, will hold him in everlasting remembrance.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dedication by Radio of the Will Rogers Memorial in Claremore, Oklahoma. Hyde Park, New York. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/209328