Saturday, June 21, 2008

Stories & Tour of FDR Site Give History Life and Relevance

Franklin D. Roosevelt served the United States as President beginning in 1933 for four unprecedented terms. As our 32nd President, he faced challenging times – the Great Depression and World War II. He put forth the New Deal Programs. And, he comforted and informed US citizens through his Fireside Chats.

In his 1941 Annual Message to Congress, he declared that in the face of the nation’s peril from aggression abroad, our country would look forward to a world founded on the Four Freedoms. These essential human freedoms he said are: Freedom of Speech, Freedom from Fear, Freedom of Worship, and Freedom from Want. These Freedoms are the foundation on which the history of FDR’s era is based. The story is told so well by the volunteers who offer to guide you through the FRD Library and Springwood, his family home. The story is depicted in the exhibits and films.

As I visited this Historic Site, history came alive for me. I had not lived through these hard times. I was born in 1955. Sure the history books at Hempfield Area High School offered a chapter or two about this period of time but it offered no relevancy to a teenager living in the affluence of the late 1960s. The history and relevance came alive only after a visit to the FDR site and subsequent exploration of the Library website.

I have come to think that historians, educators, and the tourism industry need to hearken a call for all of the US public to visit this National Historic Site. We all need a good dose of history to appreciate the basic freedoms we enjoy as a nation.

June 12, 2008

The Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site included Springwood, FRD’s family home, and the FDR Presidential Library and Museum. This 290-acre site is located on U.S. 9, six miles north of Poughkeepsie, New York, at 4097 Albany Post Road in Hyde Park, New York. Phone: 845-229-9115. Website:

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