Monday, May 16, 2016


Monday night President Obama delivered the commencement address to about 20000 Rutgers graduates and their families.

No greater thrill could any graduate have than the having their graduation graced by the POTUS.

The probably one exception in magnitude was my own graduation on June 4, 1940 from UVA.

It was a hot and humid rainy day at UVA. that June 10, 1940 when the ceremony had to be moved indoors with only parents allowed inside the Memorial Gymnasium when I received my BA.

President Roosevelt was to deliver the Graduation address since his son was receiving his Law degree. The speech he delivered was not his prepared one

Since the night before Italy had invaded France he abandoned his prepared remarks in favor of major policy statement known as THE STAB IN THE BACK speech in which he formally announced that the US would abandoned its isolation policy and openly support England in its war effort.

Since TV was unknown at that time, thi is a transcript of the speech.

My second graduation 3 years from Medical School was also unusual since we were now at war and the pr4evious summer vacation from Medical School was eliminated making our graduation in March with a small brief ceremony. Tha5t year a second class graduated in December.


  1. Hi Doc,

    WOW! Thanks for sharing that experience. You were truly an eye witness to history being made. What did you and your classmates think at the time? And did you possibly imagine it would be leading us into the war?

    Thanks again,

    Tom Kaercher

    1. Tom, I was not an isolationist like most of the country at that time who felt that what happened in Europe did not concern us and we should not risk American lives. Shades of today! I felt that if Hitler was victorious we were in danger of falling victim to Fascism. We would not have entered the war even just against the Japanese despite our involvement in the Philippines without the attack on Pearl Harbor. Once attacked it gave Roosevelt the excuse he needed to declare war on the entire Axis

    2. The speech enabled Roosevelt to exercise his "moral right" to aid England and protect our national interests against the isolation8ists. The lend lease program was a risk of German retaliation but only ocured on convoy attacks.

  2. Thanks Doc,

    It seems so obvious given the interconnectedness of the world today, that what was happening in Europe wold have an effect on us, but I've read that in the wake of WWI, there were strong isolationists sentiments in America in the lead-up to WWII. My Mom, who graduated in '44 talked a lot about living through those tumultuous times. She said when the attach on Pearl Harbor was announced, my grandfather was so concerned for her safety he wanted to come home from college immediately.

    Lend Lease was vitally important to England. I knew about the convoy attacks, but never heard or read about any concerns about Germany directly attacking us.

    Thanks again for sharing your experiences.

    Tom Kaercher

  3. Wow. Thank you for sharing your view. That gave me goosebumps.