Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Franklin Delano Roosevelt: An Enduring Icon of Leadership

As the 32nd President of the United States (1933-1945) Franklin Delano Roosevelt, commonly referred to as FDR, led America through an intensely challenging historical period (World War II and The Great Depression) and he did so despite his own personal challenges.

Although stricken with polio in 1921, FDR had the determination, optimism, courage and perseverance to lead America through the war and the depression.

It is a profound experience to visit the home of FDR in Hyde Park, New York and to walk the upstairs hallway where FDR, who could not walk, would pull himself into a box and, using his upper body strength, lower himself via a makeshift pulley system to the main floor.

Today, while working out in my gym, I witnessed a moving encounter between a personal trainer and his client who was bound to a wheel chair. He assisted her with supportive compassion and dedication. It was an inspiring vignette which reminded me of the determination and character of FDR, as well as of all of America's unsung heroes. Despite their challenges, there are countless Americans who quietly respond with determination, courage, optimism and perseverance and serve as an inspiration to all of us.

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