Franklin D. Roosevelt

Letter to the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

September 24, 1934

My dear Commander Van Zandt:

It is with profound regret that I find myself unable to meet with you at your thirty-fifth encampment in Louisville this year. Only the pressure of public business prevents my foregathering with you men who have served your country on foreign fields and on the high seas during hostilities. My inability to be present in no wise affects the measure of my real interest in your proceedings, for I, too, am a member of your distinguished organization.

Not since the gunfire was stilled along the battle lines in 1918, have you overseas veterans been confronted with emergency conditions such as today demand the undivided attention and unselfish application of all of us. And just as we did in those days when we subordinated everything to the attainment of our great objective, so now we must carry on through until we are definitely clear of the mine fields of economic distress.

I do not hesitate to include you in that gallant company of men who hold the welfare of the entire country paramount, for your very membership in the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States shows that when the call came you were prepared to give your lives if need be for this Republic. Many and diverse may be your interests but greatest of all is that which we all share in common. It is the welfare of our Nation. That comes first. Let us look to that and the lesser things will follow in their due time.

I wish your convention every success. May the memories of your active service in other climes endure down the years, for these recollections are sacred. They are the cherished possessions of the favored few, the few who risked their all for a principle and survived to answer the roll call.

Very sincerely yours,

Mr. James E. Van Zandt,


Veterans of Foreign Wars,

Washington, D. C.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Letter to the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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