Franklin D. Roosevelt

Remarks at a Luncheon at Indianapolis, Ind.

September 05, 1936

I told my old friend, Governor McNutt, that I would say a few words of greeting and thanks for this most delightful day. I shall always remember these visits to Indianapolis. In the 1932 campaign, I think the thing that stands out most clearly in my memory was that wonderful meeting in the Circle with that sea of faces—they seemed millions—in front of me. On this visit I have been glad to see more of the city and more of the fine work that has been carried on in the recent past.

And thank you for a most delightful luncheon. I was saying to Fred Van Nuys that your orchestra knows when to play the right State tune, which is somewhat different from what happened back in 1924 in Madison Square Garden, at the Democratic Convention. We had a magnificent band. The bandmaster came to me before the Convention opened, and said, "Would it be all right when the roll of States is called for me to play the proper tune?" I said, "That is a splendid idea." Things went all right through the A, C and D's and we got down to G, and they called Georgia. This New York City band played, "Marching through Georgia."

There is only one piece of bad news: We have been trying at the head table to get Senator Barkley of Kentucky to sing Wagon Wheels.

I am not talking politics on this trip, and I shall not talk drought to you. I have been doing that for nearly two weeks. I do want to say this, and I think I can say it with perfectly good faith and without bringing politics into it. This trip, at the end of August and beginning of September, 1936, is a tremendous contrast to the trips that I made and lots of other people made in the autumn of 1932. I shall always remember, in going almost every day through the country districts and the manufacturing districts, not only the garb, the clothing of people, but the faces of people. It was a harrowing experience as I campaigned in that year, because there was such obvious want in almost every part of the country. As Alben Barkley and I were going across the State of Kentucky, he would say, jokingly perhaps, to the people who thronged around the end of the train, "You have the same clothes that you had in 1928 when I was through here." And it was all too true; there was not enough clothing to go round, and there was not enough food to go round.

Those were difficult years that we went through. I am thankful, as an American, that today the faces of the people and the clothing they wear show that their mental condition and their physical condition are a whole lot better than they were at that time. I think everybody who goes through the country at the present time feels that we have come through a very dangerous and a very sad experience.

It is not a question, in my judgment, that ought to be brought into politics, into the partisan give and take of a campaign- it is a fact. Today the people of the country, of all parties and in every section, are looking forward to the future with a great deal more hope than they could possibly have looked forward to in 1932. For that reason this trip of mine has been a happy trip. Even people who have been hard hit by the drought have a new courage to go through the year without losing hope. That is true not only in the drought areas, but here in the State of Indiana, where, I am happy to say, conditions are much better with regard to crops.

So, at the end of this trip of nearly two weeks, I am going back to Washington in a happy frame of mind. I am glad to be here in Indiana, among so many old friends of both parties. I told Arthur Vandenberg that if he had been nominated against me we might have teamed up and run a joint campaign, and we would both have saved money.

It has been fine to see you. Many thanks for a delightful day.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Remarks at a Luncheon at Indianapolis, Ind. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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