April 22, 2005
Oroville Mercury April 13, 1945
Nation Mourn His Death
Roll of Muffled Drums Heard as President’s Body is Taken to Train.
Many in tears as they stand and watch; train to move slowly on to
By Merriman Smith Warm Springs, Ga. (UP)
The body of Franklin D. Roosevelt today was borne from the “Little
White House” of Georgia to the roll of muffled drums, starting the
long, last journey to Washington. The hot southern sun shone in
a blue sky as the funeral cortege left the green hills the President
had loved so well. The procession slowly moved down the winding
mile-long road to Warm Springs station. In the distance a church
bell pealed from some country steeple. The cortege left at 10:30
a. m. along the road stood hundreds of residents of the Presidents
“other home.” They bared their heads and stood in silence as the
cortege passed. First came the U. S. Army band from Ft. Benning,
Ga. The roll of its muffled drums carried softly over the countryside.
Behind the band marched 1000 infantrymen, led by three companies
of carbine-carrying troops, followed by riflemen. Their colors flew
black streamers to signify the mourning of the nation. Then came
the hearse bearing the President’s body in a copper-lined, flag-draped
mahogany casket. As the troops reached the little station across
the tracks from the Warm Springs Hotel and the little row of Warm
Springs stores and business buildings they deployed into company
front and presented their arms at the salute.
MRS. ROOSEVELT CALM
Behind the hearse and at each flank was the honor guard of high
naval officers, afoot. Next came Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt, dressed
in black, with a fur cape. She sat stiffly upright, outwardly composed
as she had been throughout. With Mrs. Roosevelt rode Fala, he sat
quietly at Mrs. Roosevelt’s feet. Along the route, troops-overseas
veterans-stood at attention. Many of them cried openly as they stood
rigidly presenting their arms. The cortege wound through the pleasant
grounds of the Warm Springs Foundation. Some two hours before the
faint beat of the muffled drums signaled the approach of the cortege,
the patients-like Mr. Roosevelt victims of infantile paralysis-had
hobbled out in front of the main dormitory. Some were wheeled by
their nurses. Chief Petty Officer Graham Jackson, a Georgia Negro
who was a favorite of the President’s stepped from the circle of
mourners. He had his accordian which he had often played for Mr.
PLAYS “GOING HOME”
As the cortege approached, he lifted the accordian
and played the haunting strains of Dvorak’s “Going Home” from the
new world symphony. Then he played “Nearer My God To Thee.” Standing
there, too, was old Tom Logan. For 14 years he had been Mr. Roosevelt’s
waiter at Warm Springs. His chin trembling and his shoulders shaking,
the white haird Negro watched the body of his friend pass by. “Lord,
God, take care of him now,” said Logan. Slowly the procession passed
on. The victims of the malady with whom MR. Roosevelt had a special
bond watched it disappear in the distance.
Stu’s Notes: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, to me, he is a hero.
I put him right up there with Abraham Lincoln and George Washington,
as my favorite presidents. As Commander In Chief of all U. S. Armed
Forces, he carried a heavier burden than most of us could bear.
400,000 Americans died under his command. He was only 63 years old,
but I’m sure the rigors of his job took his life early, a life he
gave for his country. When I asked my good friend and fellow Oroville
Veterans Memorial Committee member Nick Krpan what he thought of
the Presidents he immediately replied “He Saved the World”.
Nick served under his command for 4 years, all the way to Berlin.