“Mr. President.” wrote the dean of Harvard University in 1908, “You may know where your son Ted is. We do not.” The president was Theodore Roosevelt. His son Ted, deciding he needed a break from schoolwork, went fishing and skipped thirty-eight class periods.
Ever since watching The Longest Day, a film about the D-Day invasion of Normandy during World War II, I have been interested in the life of Ted Roosevelt, Jr. But it wasn’t until I started researching his life that I realized the struggles he faced because he was his father’s son and namesake. His family expected him to be his father’s political heir and president of the United States–not his cousin Franklin.
But Ted won honor in his own right. “I walk with my head higher because of him,” President Roosevelt said. Ted served in both World War I and II. And between the two, he earned every decoration the U. S. Army gives, including the Medal of Honor.
As a boy, Ted dreamed of becoming a soldier and of dying “with my sword in my hand.” He got his wish. One month after D-Day he died of a heart attack at age 56.
Quotations from Day Before Yesterday by Eleanor Roosevelt (Ted’s wife)