Quotations by Franklin D. Roosevelt

Ten years ago the National Park Service dedicated the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington D.C. This memorial covers 7.5 acres along the cherry blossomed lined Tidal Basin in our nation’s capitol and traces 12 years of the FDR presidency. On the stone walls of the memorial are engraved Roosevelt’s words from the days of his first Presidential campaign to his death in 1945. “I pledge to you, I pledge myself,” he said in his 1932 acceptance speech, “to a new deal for the American people.” Four years later he proclaimed that “this generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny.” Throughout his presidency Roosevelt addressed America by radio in what became known as fireside chats. Each idea, each phrase was underscored by courage and optimism.

In 1933, upon taking an oath as President, FDR said to the more than 15 million people out of work, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” In 1934 he spoke of Social Injustice. “No country, however rich, can afford the waste of its human resources. Demoralization caused by vast unemployment is our greatest extravagance. Morally, it is the greatest menace to our social order.”

As the World War II progressed our 32nd President, who had been re-elected for an unprecedented third term, spoke these words. “I have seen war on land and sea. I have seen blood running from the wounded. I have seen the dead in mud. I have seen cities destroyed. I have seen children starving. I have seen the agony of Mothers and Wives. I hate War.”

Here are other quotations by FDR, who by far was the greatest communicator of the 20th Century:

It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails,
admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.

I sometimes think that the saving grace of America lies in the fact that the overwhelming majority of Americans are possessed of two great qualities- a sense of humor and a sense of proportion.

The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith.

We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.

Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds.

We must remember that any oppression, any injustice, any hatred, is a wedge designed to attack our civilization.

Who doesn’t remember Franklin D. Roosevelt’s address to Congress after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor:

Yesterday, December 7, 1941 - a date which will live on in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.