Not Everybody Mourned
Thomas P. Lowry
SIXTY-FIVE YEARS AGO, MY FATHER, THE SKIPPER OF A NAVY ship, received notice of the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt along with orders to conduct an appropriate ceremony. The product of three generations of Republicans, my father disliked Roosevelt intensely, but he obeyed orders. He wrote home to my mother, “We learned that old Rosie was dead. I called all hands together and ordered 60 seconds of silence for them to meditate on the occasion. It would have been hypocrisy for me to give some eulogy.” In April 1865, not everyone was as discreet as they would be in April 1945.
When I was eleven, my family visited Vicksburg and had a guided tour by a white-haired lady, probably a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, who seemed increasingly cranky as we visited each historic site. Afterward, I asked my father, “She seemed really mad. What was she mad about?” He replied, “It was something many years ago. It doesn't concern you.” He was only partially correct. I spent my childhood in California, where we