a newspaper man adjusts his pen

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The more-modest memorial to a president

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The 32nd president of the United States who ushered the nation out of the Great Depression didn’t want to be remembered postmortem with a pretentious monument on the National Mall.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt made his wishes clear four years prior to his 1945 death in a conversation with a friend, then-Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter, that he wanted to be memorialized with something simpler than the Washington Monument or Lincoln Memorial.

Placing his hands on his desk Roosevelt said, “If any memorial is erected to me I know exactly what I should like it to be,” according to an obscure brass plaque near Ninth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C.

Roosevelt then said he wanted a stone block in his honor without any ornamentation about the size of his desk placed in the grassy area in front of the federal Archives Building, the plaque indicates.

That president's desires were fulfilled on the 20th anniversary of his death April 12, 1965, by a group of his associates, But that would be outdone in 1997 with the installation of a his statue, along with one of his dog, Fala, in a 7.5-acre memorial in D.C. tracing the dozen years he represented.

So much for honoring his wishes.

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