FDR, library lauded at 75th anniversary celebration


FDR, library lauded at 75th anniversary celebration

HYDE PARK – At the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, 75 years of history offer far more than just an opportunity to reflect.

The 75th anniversary of the first presidential library reinforces how all Americans are invested in the nation’s highest office and how we all have a stake in the documents and artifacts that frame any presidency. And we are all entrusted with that history and under an obligation to preserve it for future generations.

That was the perspective of William vanden Heuvel, one of several speakers at a ceremony held Thursday to mark the 75th anniversary of the FDR Library and Museum.

FDR was born, lived and is buried in Hyde Park and was the nation’s 32nd president.

“The message of this anniversary celebration is that the presidency of the United States belongs to the people of the United States,” said vanden Heuvel, a former U.S. ambassador to the European office of the United Nations and chair emeritus and founder of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute.

He added that FDR’s “purpose and his direction was that the papers and the records of the presidency, all of them, should be gathered together and carefully archived, so that the history of the United States could be handed to our children and to their children.”

The majesty of the presidency, the role that Hyde Park and Dutchess County played in shaping global affairs while FDR was commander-in-chief and the manner in which the library remains a resource for all were showcased Thursday.

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“Franklin Delano Roosevelt saved the country in the 1930s and he saved the world in the 1940s,” said presidential historian and author Michael Beschloss, one of the speakers. “He invented so much about modern-day America, so why not the presidential library?”

The anniversary celebration continues  Friday and Saturday.

The library and museum will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday  and features an exhibit that opened Thursday — “Day of Infamy: 24 Hours that Changed History.”

The exhibit focuses on the 24 hours that followed the attack on Pearl Harbor, from the moment FDR receives word to the delivery of his “Day of Infamy” speech to Congress on Dec. 8, 1941.

Also Friday, there will be a 3 p.m. book talk with William E. Leuchtenberg on “The American President: From Teddy Roosevelt to Bill Clinton” and a theatrical performance, “In Their Own Words: The Roosevelts.”

On Saturday, the library’s Great Lawn will host a Family Fun Festival; the library will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and the theatrical performance will be presented at 4 and 7 p.m. Admission to the library and museum is free on Saturday.

Under clear skies and with warm temperatures Thursday, more than 400 turned out to mark the anniversary of the library launched by the president who guided the nation through the Great Depression and World War II.

The ceremony was held beneath a large tent pitched in front of the library. And a bust of FDR that welcomes visitors to the library seemed to watch over it all.

Jeremy Johnson of Long Island traveled to Hyde Park Thursday to visit the library, learned of the anniversary upon arriving and attended the ceremony.

“It’s incredible how it’s just persevered,” Johnson said of the library. “It’s inspiring and it will continue on for many years.”

FDR’s granddaughter, Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, also spoke at the event. Tricia Nixon Cox, daughter of President Richard Nixon, was in attendance. Lynda Bird Johnson Robb, daughter of President Lyndon B. Johnson, was also on hand.

Hyde Park resident David Roosevelt, grandson of FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt, underscored the enduring nature of the Roosevelt legacy in Dutchess County.

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

“The most important thing for me is that this library, these grounds, give people from all over the world an opportunity to really become familiar with my grandmother and grandfather’s work and, hopefully, to encourage them in these troubled days as well,” David Roosevelt said shortly before the ceremony began.

Adding presidential luster to the ceremony was a message that Archivist of the United States David Ferriero read during his address.

He said the message was from “my boss,” who is President Obama.

“The FDR Presidential Library and Museum is more than a place where our past is preserved,” Obama’s message read in part. “It is a symbol of transparency and openness in our government.”

John W. Barry: jobarry@poughkeepsiejournal.com, 845-437-4822, Twitter: @JohnBarryPoJo

On the Web

To view videos, photo galleries and stories about the 75th anniversary of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, visit www.poughkeepsiejournal.com and our theme page at www.pojonews.co/fdr

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Source: Poughkeepsie Journal
FDR, library lauded at 75th anniversary celebration

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