Every four years the NPS personnel at the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site in Hyde Park, New York recreate the Torchlight Parade that took place on election night. On the four occasions when FDR ran for President he returned to his home to cast his ballot. The Torchlight Parade (gathering of friends and neighbors) would come to his home, Springwood, and he would come out on his porch to greet them. The recreations are held several weeks before election night to encourage voter turn-out.
What an honor it was for me to be asked to re-enact FDR at this year’s Parade on October 14. There were bands, placards, and park personnel portraying Roosevelt family members. My wife, Ruth, was also asked to portray Sara Roosevelt (I’ll never let her forget that she was portraying my mother.)
We all waited in the vestibule of the FDR home before the parade reached the house. What a feeling to know that I was sitting in a spot that FDR crossed many times during his life. Chilling in the best way possible.
There was a record turn-out at this parade and the crowd seemed to enjoy the entire experience. Afterwards, we all retired to the Wallace center on the FDR grounds and I was thrilled an the dozens and dozens of people who wanted a picture with “The President.” The many compliments I received from attendees and Park personnel was indeed one of the highlights of my life.