National Geographic : 1949 Jan
The National Geographic Magazine National Geographic Photographer B. Anthony Stewart Visitors Troop Through the Hyde Park Home of the World War II President One of the newest national historic sites preserves Franklin D. Roosevelt's comfortable old house over looking the Hudson River. The site includes his grave. Adjacent to it is the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, which contains his papers, books, and other collections, including his beloved ship models. he wore when he came to Hyde Park to relax. Stuck up on the dresser mirror with a hatpin is a picture of some of his children. Al Smith broke with him over politics, but FDR never took down the picture of his friend of brown derby days. In the room is the chair of Fala, his dog. "Forward with Strong and Active Faith" Inevitably the house evokes comparison with Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site a little way down the road. Full of glittering, sumptuous furnishings from Europe, that magnificent Italian Renaissance mansion is a multimillionaire's palace. But Hyde Park, though a mansion, is a home. "He lived just like the rest of us," people say. "Why, we have a piece of furniture like that at home." History has yet to assess the true stature of FDR. Like many another President, he was fervently loved and hotly hated. Yet few will deny the magnetic power of his personal ity and voice. As I roamed the rooms the President loved, I seemed to hear the rich voice saying: "The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith." Franklin D. Roosevelt wrote these words in an address he never delivered. The next day he died. From New York I took a night plane back to the Nation's Capital. As the airliner banked and swung low for a landing, the dome of the Capitol loomed like a lodestar, and near it glowed the shrines of Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln, "who made and pre served us a nation." Suffering and tragedy, blisters and blood, the lure of distance, the ache to discover, the primal urge to have and to hold, firm faith, the will to persevere, the ability to blend all nations, the all-surpassing love of freedom these made the United States.