Monday, October 24, 2016


My Virginia son-in law emailed that the “Stab in the Back” should have brought back memories of a most famous speech of FDR that I had the good fortune to be present when it was delivered.

This was in 1940 and the President was to deliver the commencement address at UVA since his son was graduating from Law School.

Although I had just finished my first year in Medical School it had been combined with what would have been my 4th College year so it was also my time to receive my BA degree.

Graduation at UVA in those days was scheduled to be held outdoors on the amphitheater at the base of the “Lawn” Unfortunately one of two bad happenings took place that hot humid day. In Charlottesville it was raining so the proceedings were moved into the Gym where space was limited and only two family members could attend. That meant that my steady was saddled with my sister for the duration

The other happening was Italy’s invasion of the reeling France the night before.

FDR instead of a routine speech to graduates delivered his famous “Stab in the Back” speech in which he openly pledged all aid short of war to the British and French resistance fighters. This included the “lend lease destroyers for convoy duty”. It marked the end of our isolation ship policy and actively expressed our anti-fascist favor of the civil freedoms promised by democracy.

We began to prepare for a war which seemed inevitable and began a year later with Pearl Harbor and the attacks in the Philippines for which Trump’s hero Mc Arthur was so unprepared that aircraft were lined up on the tarmacs and thousands of American troops died in the Japanese attacks and subsequent captivity.

Could any of you have had such a memorial commencement address?

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