I Dare Say – Inauguration (1-22-45)

The Pittsburgh Press (January 22, 1945)



By Florence Fisher Parry

“What are all these flags up for?” I asked different persons as I came in to town Saturday.

No one seemed to know. No one. I think I questioned a pretty fair cross-section. It didn’t dawn on one of them that it was Inauguration Day.

I found myself remembering what that day used to mean to us – to what great lengths the rank and file of Americans would go to be able to attend an inaugural ceremony. Those days were something like our World’s Fairs – they satisfied the American appetite for celebration.

Besides, the day was important. It was a great historical occasion: A new President of the United States was to be sworn in to the highest office on earth. And the American people wanted to take a look at their man.

So it was, 12 years ago; eight years ago. Four years ago, the thing began to happen; the change, I mean. The dying down of a great American tradition.

Let us not go into all the reasons for this. But, perversely enough, I am thinking of one little, perhaps unimportant, reason. But it somehow symbolizes the general breakdown, all along the line, of our American pride in the institution of the White House.

We have been reading these last few days about Fala’s “honeymoon” trip and Blaze’s “priority” trip.


The American home has been rudely and tragically dislocated by the war. Family emotions have been strained too the uttermost. Precipitate marriages, violent separations, suspense, dread, death and mourning, have been the portion of the American family.

Millions of middle-aged parents who had approached the realization of their fondest dreams – the dream of spending as quiet and pleasurable life together, now that their children were grown and dispersed – have had to start all over again, opening their doors to their daughters and daughters-in-law and their little babies and children.

No sacrifice has been too great for American parents to accept. Family ties have indeed bound together the destinies of millions! Compromise, sacrifice, patience, understanding – these homely virtues have been put to the severest test.

There have been few American families who have been able to indulge themselves with selfish pleasures; and whatever may be said in criticism of the home front spirit, certainly as regards family relationships, the American family has behaved magnificently. Men and women have relinquished their dreams of leisure, have gladly given up vacations, travel, and all the innocent luxuries they earned over faithful years of providence and planning; and uncomplainingly have held together under the family roof, not only one, but several of their children’s families disrupted by the war.


The priority incident of the White House’s latest canine pet, the recent disgust over Fala’s “honeymoon trip,” these items in themselves, unfortunate as they are, have attained their prominence in the press as a result of accumulated pent-up disfavor of a whole nation, especially of family men and women of America.

Where we have looked for dignity, we have found only self-indulgence; where we have looked for reticence and manners, we have found an easy flouting of the conventions we hold most dear.