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Eleanor Roosevelt Liveblogs World War II: November 13, 1941

Eleanor Roosevelt:

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, November 13, 1941: We reached Detroit, Mich., on time yesterday, and barely arrived at the hotel before the military parade in commemoration of Armistice Day began to pass in the streets. It was cold and gray, and yet the streets were lined with people. It was evident that this was because of a new realization of the significance of the day. Every other Armistice Day we have celebrated something that was past. Today, we celebrate a rededication of ourselves to preserving, in the present, what people died for so frequently in our history.

This time, I hope, that we can use this period of emergency to awaken in every citizen the realization that democracy at home and in the world, must be made safe by daily continued efforts, year by year, which will bring to all people a freedom from want and fear. This entails a more equitable economic situation and some kind of machinery which will allow nations to suppress an aggressor who wishes to take up arms.

This entire week, as you know, is dedicated to civilian defense, and I want to stress particularly the significance of "Sign Up for Defense Day." We hope that local defense councils will see that volunteer offices are established, not only in large cities, but in small ones. That, from the county seats, people will go out and spend evenings in the villages, telling the rural men and women how they can enroll and be a part of the nation's defense.

These volunteer bureaus are not merely enrollment centers. Their duty is also to canvass every available opportunity for training in their area, whether it is training which can be obtained through the Red Cross, private social agencies, Social Security programs, WPA, or the educational system. They must also canvass the opportunities for volunteers after training, and know where the opportunities for placement are for people already trained in some particular line. There is work for everyone, and we must do it. In a united nation, everyone must participate in its defense.

During the afternoon in Detroit yesterday, I had an hour's conference with the Governor, Mayor and a number of State officials. Later, representatives from a women's local of the United Mine Workers came to see me. Finally, I met some of the Democratic women leaders and the President of the Pen Women. I ended with a very pleasant hour spent with one of the Washington newspaper women, Mrs. Esther Tufty, and my sister-in-law, Mrs. Dorothy Roosevelt and two of my nieces, Amy and Diana Roosevelt. A pleasant dinner, then the lecture, and the train to Cincinnati, where we arrived this morning.