Franklin D. Roosevelt photo

Remarks at the Citadel, Charleston, South Carolina.

October 23, 1935

Governor Johnston, Mr. Mayor, my friends of Charleston and of South Carolina:

You have given me a very wonderful welcome home to the continental limits of the United States. It is a very happy ending to a very happy vacation.

I am glad to come back here after many years, for, as some of you will remember, in the old days when I was associated with the United States Navy under the Administration of that great American President, Woodrow Wilson, I had the opportunity of coming here on several occasions and of helping to build up, to some degree at least, this splendid Navy Yard in Charleston.

When I heard that I was to speak at the Citadel, old memories came back to me, memories not only of my own visit to the old school, but also of the great historic tradition of that school-an historical record, a war record, if you please, of the Citadel boys that ought to be known to every boy in the United States. Then when I learned that the Citadel had moved, somehow I got a little choky over it, wondering what it would be like; and yet here I come and I find the old Citadel reproduced. It is reproduced, I am confident, for generations to come, for the continuance of this splendid institution. I am happy indeed that you have moved it here to these very fitting surroundings, and that the Citadel is under the command of my old friend General Summerall. . . .

We have had a very happy three weeks; and I am glad, in coming back here to the Southern Atlantic Coast, to find a very definite evidence of what I found in my trip across the continent, starting from Washington and going out through the Middle West, out into the Great Plains country, through the Rocky Mountain States and finally to the Pacific Coast. There was not one dissenting word—there was general admission that this country was coming back. You could see it with your own eyes.

Today, on landing, I am told the same story about South Carolina. Yes, we are on our way back— not just by pure chance, my friends, not just by a turn of the wheel, of the cycle. We are coming back more soundly than ever before because we are planning it that way. Don't let anybody tell you differently.

There are many grave problems ahead. As you know, I spoke in San Diego, in California, three weeks ago today. I spoke in regard to the affairs of the world and I tried to make it clear then, as I continue to make it clear today, that it shall be my earnest effort to keep this country free and unentangled from any possible war that may occur across the seas.

I have come back very much sunburned, full of health and ready to tackle a great many things. I wish I could stay with you longer, but I have to be back in Washington tomorrow. I shall always bear with me a very happy recollection of this coming back home, back into our country, and a very happy recollection of all the kind things you have said and you have done, of your coming out to greet me, of my opportunity once more to see this historic city, to see those delightful and splendid old homes-homes that belong not just to you who are fortunate to live in Charleston, but homes and churches and public buildings that belong to all of us Americans, all of us who care for the great traditions of the United States.

I hope you will always keep those homes, keep them for yourselves and for your fellow countrymen, as you would keep the splendid traditions of Charleston and the splendid traditions of South Carolina. I know that more and more people all over the United States are going to come to visit you, just as your welcome today makes me want to come back every possible chance that I may get.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Remarks at the Citadel, Charleston, South Carolina. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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