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FDR Memorial Controversy 1996 In 1996, when plans were announced to erect a memorial to the late Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Washington, D.C., an emotionally charged controversy erupted: Should America's only four-term president be shown in a wheelchair? FDR had been crippled by polio as a 39-year-old in 1921--and he went to great lengths to conceal his condition for the rest of his life. Because of the stigma attached to disabilities at the time, the accommodating media of the day kept FDR's secret from the public. Most photos and newsreels of FDR show him seated behind a desk or in an automobile; FDR was seldom photgraphed in a wheelchair or standing with the help of leg braces. Thus, a passionate dispute arose about how to memorialize FDR. Should he be shown as he truly was or as the public remembered him? This photograph shows the result: In his statue, FDR is draped in a cloak, which presumably hides the wheelchair. This compromise did not suit many advocates for the disabled. A smaller statue of FDR, clearly in a wheelchair, was erected near the main memorial in 2001.
Tags: FDR  memorial  controversy  wheelchair 
Added: 11th October 2009
Views: 7264
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Posted By: Lava1964
Posted by: Jedwgrn on 2009-10-11 
The first 100 days and the New Deal are measures employed to judge succeeding presidents. Disabled or not, Roosevelt changed the course of this country during a critical time. Those that view the memorial determine what is important to them and what they remember the most. To whit, all is arguable
Posted by: Lava1964 on 2009-10-11 
Well said, Jed, even though I'm not a huge fan of FDR. (I think his New Deal policies led to the 'entitlement mentality' that some people have whereby they expect the governement to take care of them. I also question whether FDR adequately prepared the United States for its inevitable entry into the Second World War.

Nevertheless, FDR was elected president four times and has a rremarkable place in American history.
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