I was seven years old, and this incident of nearly 75 years ago is as “clear as a bell” in my memory today. The date was April 12, 1945.
School let out. It was raining, so I grabbed my raincoat from the cloak room and ran the half-mile home as fast as I could to get ahead of the coming downpour. When I arrived home, (and this was before dad’s do-it-yourself-remodel), I found mom in the kitchen at the old-fashioned built-in-the-wall ironing board. She was crying as she ironed.
I seldom saw mom cry, and it concerned me, so I asked her what was the matter. She replied: “Honey, President Roosevelt died.”
Mom highly respected his leadership qualities that brought the country through two of its greatest crises, the Great Depression and World War II. Sadly, he died just before the surrender of Germany in World War ll.
Simply known as FDR, he was our 32nd president and longest serving in history of the office. He assumed the presidency at a time when Americans were looking for new ideas, leadership, and hope. When war broke out, he coined the phrase, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
In addition to his many fine qualities and the tough decisions he made, he was the first president since Abraham Lincoln to support black rights.
Rightly so, he remains in the annals of history as one of our greatest presidents and a true American hero.
Sharon Benson Smith is a member of the writing class offered through the Cerritos College Adult Education Program. It is held off-campus at the Norwalk Senior Center.