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"My Day" by Eleanor Roosevelt

August 8, 1942


WASHINGTON, Friday—The sun shone yesterday and the weather has certainly been kind, because it has not been oppressively warm either yesterday or today. I went with Queen Wilhelmina to the Capitol and sat in the gallery to listen to her as she addressed those members of the Senate and the House who were in session and some of their friends and relatives.

Then we drove to the Navy Yard. The papers have told you of the ceremony as the United States turned over an American subchaser to Queen Wilhelmina. A lump came in my throat when I saw this kindly faced woman go abroad to greet, not only her officers, but all of her men.

She looked at all there was to see. Not content with a glance she made a real inspection of the quarters and even of the gun on the forward deck. One gets a sense of unity between a sovereign and her people when you see Queen Wilhelmina with her Navy men. It gives one an understanding of why she has been known as "the mother of her people."

I have a feeling that any Dutch citizen who wished to reach his Queen would find her accessible, and if what he had to say was worth while, he would get a hearing. This is democracy, no matter whether the head of the nation is a sovereign or an elected chief.

The trip to Mt. Vernon on the "Potomac" was very pleasant. We lunched and chatted and landed immediately on arrival and the usual ceremony took place at George Washington's tomb. From there most of the party drove to the Mansion, though some of us walked up the hill.

There was time only for a brief glance at the rooms and then we drove to the National Cemetery in nearby Arlington, Va., to lay a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The ceremony seemed to me even more poignant than usual. The bugler sounded taps and as the notes floated over the valley below, everyone thought of the new "unknown soldiers" all over the world today.

Back at the White House we had a cup of tea and then the President went to his office and the Queen left to prepare for the dinner and reception by her at the Dutch Embassy last night.

This morning Queen Wilhelmina attended the President's press conference. Then, on our way to the Cabinet room, I showed her Miss Tully's office, which is always filled with things awaiting the President's attention. She was interested to know that the President always presides at Cabinet meetings. I pointed out the fact that we marked each member's chair with his or her name, so that there could be no question of ownership.

Now Queen Wilhelmina has gone to visit the American Red Cross Headquarters and her own embassy, after which there will be a small informal lunch here.

E.R.

Copyright, 1942, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.


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Eleanor Roosevelt. White House Collection



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