Second World War: The Death of President Roosevelt

On April 12, 1945, President
Roosevelt died. That was one of the saddest days during World War II. The
government offices were closed, and we were sent home. We sat in our rooms and
listened to the commentators and funeral music on the radio.

All of Washington
lined Constitution Avenue
to watch the caisson carrying Roosevelt’s
casket pulled by six white horses. The caisson was followed by a rider-less
horse with a saddle and boots placed backwards in the stirrups. Everyone was
mourning Roosevelt’s death. Could the war be
won without our leader?

Later, President Roosevelt’s body
was taken to Hyde Park and buried in the
garden. Vice President Truman was sworn in as President, and the War continued.

Toward the end of August 1945 we
were told the Bureau of Ships was not allowing any more contracts. Work slowed
down, but we were told to look busy. Every time the loud speaker in our
building sputtered, we expected the end of the War to be announced. This
continued for at least a month. On September I, 1945, I had just arrived home
from work in the afternoon, when the announcement came over the radio. Japan
had signed the peace treaty.

Everyone headed for downtown Washington. People were
hanging on the outside of the streetcars. There were conga lines up and down F
and G Streets. Ticker tape was hanging from the upstairs office windows on F Street.

Servicemen went up and down the
streets kissing every pretty girl they saw.

My friends and I walked across the Ellipse to the White
House. President Truman and Bess came out on the balcony and waved to the
milling crowd.

Everyone came to work the next
morning with broad smiles on their faces. World War II was over!

Soon, civil service workers were
being laid off, and we said goodbye to our many friends and acquaintances.

We had made friends from all parts
of the United States and
gained a vast knowledge of the U.S.
capital and Congress. It was an experience that enriched our lives and one that
we would never forget.

Beatrice Sanders
Lunas, New Mexico

Back in 1955 a call
went out from the editors of the then Capper’s
asking for readers to send
in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early
settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from
grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were
received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first
Folks title – My Folks Came in a
Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine
other books have since been published in the
My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to
make those stories available to our growing online community.