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“News Stuns Atlantans on Street,” April 13, 1945


(The following is the headline article from the front page of the April 13, 1945 issue of the Atlanta Constitution.)

News Stuns Atlantans on Street

Some Dab Set Eyes, All Express Shock at Nation’s Loss

by Christine Jones

Shocked and emotional Atlantans huddled on street corners to whisper the news of President Roosevelt’s death. Strangers stopped on the streets to pass on the news. A few—men and women—dabbed at wet eyes with handkerchiefs. No one smiled.

“I’m overwhelmed—a lump keeps coming in my throat—I’m just going to let go,” Mutrell Sellars, of 240 Fourth street, N.W., a drug store cashier said as turned her back to the customers and cried.

The soldiers and sailors and service women sent their thoughts across oceans to pals, fighting for this country. They all felt the President’s death a great tragedy—a prolonging of the war—a terrible blow to peace after the war.

“It’s the worst thing that could happen to this country,” Sgt. Perry Duke, of Albany, stationed at Fort McPherson, said. “His death will prolong the war and have a tremendous bearing at the peace conference.”

Cpl. W. C. Boice, of Fort McPherson and Detroit, Mich. agreed. “It will also change the outcome of the San Francisco conference and all other peace meetings.

“I don’t know how the end of this war will be affected,” continued his buddy, Pfc. W. Osborn, a hospital patient in transit after 18 months in the Aleutians. “It’s a sudden shock to me.”

What will the boys “over there” [remainder of sentence omitted from article]

Gov. Arnall, of Georgia: “I am shocked beyond words. There is no calculating the loss to our nation and the world. He died in service. I am sure that is the way he preferred to go.”

Former Postmaster General James A. Farley: “The death of President Roosevelt is of course a shock to me as it will be to all Americans and to millions throughout the world who have looked to him for leadership among these trying times.

“He has served as President of the United States during the most momentous years in the nation’s history. The fact that he was elected four times, breaking the precedent, is evidence of the confidence that has been reposed in him by so many millions of our citizens.

“It was that confidence which made it possible for him to give inspiring leadership during this trying period.

“I shall always recall and cherish my close association with him in New York state and with his administration for seven and a half years in Washington.

“I am happy and proud to have had some part in assisting in his nomination and election as governor of New York state and as [portions of original sentence were apparently deleted] think, wondered Anne Louise Woodfin, a Girls’ High school student. “It’s the worst thing to come to the United States.”

“When will we have peace?” WAVE Leona Ordogne, of New Orleans, La., asked. Another WAVE, Pauline DuBois, of Portsmouth, N.H., spoke, too. “The war will last longer.”

“He was one of the greatest presidents we’ve ever had,” Mrs. D.M. Hurley, a College Park housewife, added.

L.M. Lipsey, a businessman, from Waycross, could only shake his head. “it’s a terrible thing.”

“I’m stunned—it’s so dreadful,” a WAC lieutenant whispered and hurried away. “I’m scared to death,” another woman sighed.

“We don’t know where to turn—what to do without him,” Mrs. R.C. Clark, of 1454 Memorial drive, S.E., continued. “It leaves you speechless and blank.”

“Vice President Truman will carry on, I believe, like the President would want it,” J.J. Greene, a telegraph operator from Hapeville, said.


War’s Outcome Safe


“it is a blow,” Charles C. Guinn, of 1115 Astor avenue, S.E.—an employee of the Veterans’ Administration—continued. “However, the outcome of the war won’t be changed, I am sure. We’ve gone too far.”

“If only he could have been spared,” Miss Averilla Morgan, a stenographer, of 1119 LaRosa terrace, S.W. repeated again and again.

“We are sufficiently over the bump on the battlefront,” an auditor Herman Cobb, of Decatur, said. “But it’s a blow to peace plans.”

A husky sergeant walked slowly down the street, shaking his head.

“One of the greatest blows to this country—like losing a great battle,” Sgt. Harold Luckow, of Fairmont, Minn. stationed at Fort Benning, spoke in a hushed voice. “It’s like losing your best friend, isn’t it?”

“I can’t believe it—it can’t be true,” a pretty brunet glanced at the soldier who held her hand. “Don’t say it’s true.”

They walked on into the crowded street, where the people huddled in small groups, whispering.

Atlanta Constitution, April 13, 1945