FDR celebration highlighted by music, descendants


FDR celebration highlighted by music, descendants

HYDE PARK – Lyndon Johnson was proud to be one of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “boys,” said the late president’s daughter, Lynda Bird Johnson Robb.

“My father thought so much of Roosevelt,” Robb said. “He knew that his advance in Congress was due to being a big Roosevelt supporter when some people had turned around from him.”

So Robb was excited to attend the 75th-anniversary celebration of The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park on Thursday.

Under large tents set up on the grounds, guests — including Roosevelt relatives, President Richard Nixon’s daughter, Patricia Nixon Cox, and a number of local officials — listened to speakers laud the legacies of FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt, and the library’s endurance.

Live music from FDR’s time as president, played by the Center for American Military Music Opportunities, helped set the mood for guests. The nonprofit provides music therapy and opportunities to active duty service members and veterans, said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Mike Hooke.

“I know a lot of us here loved FDR as a president,” said Hooke, the band leader. “It’s really an honor to see his descendants and some of the first families kind of coming together.”

One of those descendants is David Roosevelt, FDR’s grandson.

“For me, it’s a memory of what I didn’t quite get to see,” David Roosevelt said of the library and museum. “I think it’s fabulous (that) we can draw people here to this site, to enjoy the legacy of FDR and Eleanor.”

FDR’s grandson, David Roosevelt, speaks about what today’s ceremony. Nina Schutzman/Poughkeepsie Journal

FDR, who served as commander-in-chief during the Great Depression and World War II, was born, lived and is buried in Hyde Park. The nation’s first presidential library chronicles his administration.The historic site, which sits on Route 9 in Hyde Park, once served as the Roosevelt family home — the Springwood estate.

Growing up, Hyde Park native Richard Nicholson remembers seeing former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt at the local St. James Episcopal Church. He later served as an altar boy during her 1962 funeral, Nicholson said. Though he lives in Connecticut now, Nicholson didn’t want to miss the anniversary celebration in his hometown.

“As a kid, we lived across the street” from Springwood, Nicholson said. “So when Eleanor had a guest … you could walk around and follow them around. There was no security, except when (then-Soviet Union leader Nikita) Khrushchev” visited the site in 1959. “They made us stay outside of the stone wall at the time.”

Visit www.poughkeepsiejournal.com today, Friday, Saturday and Sunday for continuous coverage of the anniversary celebration and for an in-depth look at FDR and the 75-year-history of a Dutchess County landmark that in 2015 attracted 192,680 visitors.

Nina Schutzman: nschutzman@poughkeepsiejournal.com, 845-451-4518, Twitter: @pojonschutzman

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Source: Poughkeepsie Journal
FDR celebration highlighted by music, descendants

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