Harry S. Truman photo

Remarks Broadcast as Part of a Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial Program

April 12, 1947

My fellow countrymen:

One year ago today I stood in silence beside a newly built tomb in the rose garden at Hyde Park. The tomb is a simple memorial of pure white marble. The inscription on it tells only that the man whose body lies there was born in 1882, and that he died in 1945.

But there is another and greater memorial to Franklin Delano Roosevelt which tells a fuller story. That story has been told to me a thousand times. I have seen it in the eyes, I have heard it in the words, and I have read it in the hearts of men and women all over the country. It has come to me from those whom I have met in my travels, on trains, on ships, and in the air; even in foreign countries. It is the natural human response of people everywhere to something in the character and personality of Franklin Roosevelt. It is a response to his understanding and his sympathy for suffering--an understanding and a sympathy that were deep and sincere because they were born of a tragic personal experience.

That experience made Franklin Roosevelt peculiarly sensitive not only to the sorrows and sufferings of others but also to their most cherished hopes and aspirations.

More impressive than marble monolith or anything printed on paper or carved in stone is the unending pilgrimage to that sheltered grave behind a high hemlock hedge above the Hudson. In the twelve months just passed a half million persons have stood where I stood a year ago today.

Time will confirm Franklin Roosevelt's outstanding place in history. It is not for me or for any of his contemporaries to attempt to measure his great stature or to estimate the impact of his words and his deeds upon the days of his years. Today, as I think back to my visit to his grave a year ago, it is uppermost in my mind that he was a great humanitarian--that he brought hope and courage to despairing hearts when fear was destroying the faith of the people--and that through the most terrible war in history he remained the symbol of fortitude, justice, and humanity.

Franklin Roosevelt rests in the spot he held dearest--his home. He died fighting for what he loved most--his country--its homes--its institutions--its people, sharing their stubborn belief in freedom under a just God in whose Almighty beneficence rests the hope of the world this day.

His home and his grave are in the Nation's keeping. Let us bow together in a moment of silent tribute to his memory.

Note: The President spoke at 3:40 p.m. from his room in the Muehlebach Hotel in Kansas City, Mo., as part of a nationwide radio broadcast of the memorial service held at Hyde Park, N.Y. Mrs. Roosevelt and Henry Morgenthau, Jr., also participated from Hyde Park.

Harry S Truman, Remarks Broadcast as Part of a Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial Program Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/232879

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