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FDR Remarks at the Dedication of George Foster Peabody Memorial Plaque, Warm Springs, April 1, 1939


Dedicatory Remarks of President Roosevelt
upon Receiving a Plaque in Memory of
George Foster Peabody
Georgia Hall, Warm Springs, April 1, 1939

[Basil O’Connor, chairman of the National Institute for Infantile Paralysis, and Dr. Johnson, who had helped Roosevelt with early companions at Warm Springs, both spoke in honor of George Foster Peabody before Roosevelt spoke.]

I am very glad indeed to accept this plaque on behalf of the Foundation for two reasons: The first is that the Foundation in a very true sense would not be in existence today had it not been for Mr. Peabody.

Dr. Johnson has told you of those early years, of the case of young Joseph and of my coming down here. I can remember also when the first patients came and I, very much panic stricken—for they had come without warning or notice—telephoned over to Dr. Johnson to please come over and see if they were going to live. So Dr. Johnson himself was one of the pioneers and I hope that he will be with the Foundation just as long as I am and that means just as long as we live.

There is another thought, too. Those of us who knew Mr. Peabody remember that he lived to a very ripe old age. At the same time we remember that Mr. Peabody’s heart was just as young when he was up in his eighties as when he was down in his twenties. We shall always remember that youthful spirit and the fact that all through his life, just as much in his later years as in his early years, he was trying to do good for mankind, not just here at the Foundation but in many other places, such as Saratoga and New York City, trying to do good for human beings, men and women of every color, race and creed. These things will be remembered, not today, but through all the years to come.

And so we, on the Foundation, are very proud that he was associated with us from the beginning.

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