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Eleanor Roosevelt's Address to Women

November 22, 2001

I respectfully suggest that the talk by First Lady Laura Bush ("Laura Bush Addresses State of Afghan Women," Nov. 18) may not have been the first solo radio broadcast ever given by a presidential wife. Several years ago my wife and I visited the Smithsonian in Washington to see the then-acclaimed exhibit on American women. At one booth we listened to a recording of a radio address given to the nation by Eleanor Roosevelt on the evening of Dec. 7, 1941. This talk was separate and apart from FDR's historic "date which will live in infamy" speech when he called on Congress to declare war on the Berlin-Tokyo Axis.

I remember being impressed by the calm eloquence of the often-maligned first lady of that era as she quietly but firmly directed her remarks to American women. She outlined the very real sacrifices they would have to make as they were called upon to play a major role, including building ships and planes and seeing their husbands and sons go off to World War II by the millions, to help defeat the Axis powers. For her efforts to rally the country in support of that war of survival, Eleanor Roosevelt deserves lasting recognition.

Saul Halpert

Studio City

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