My Home on the Hudson River

FDR was quoted as saying, “All that is within me cries out to go back to my home on the Hudson River.”  When you visit the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site it is easy to see why he said that.  The home (Springwood), the library and the Henry A.Wallace Visitor and Education Center welcome, educate and inspire the thousands of visitors who come to this beautiful spot in Hyde Park, New York.

Whenever I am given the opportunity to present there as our 32nd President it is a thrill and an honor.  That was certainly the case for President’s Day 2018.  The presentation was sold out in four days (a record) and the audience was enthusiastic and engaged.  Their questions for the President at the end of the presentation were intelligent and inspired.

Franceska Macsali-Urbin, Scott Rector and Bill Urbin at the site are wonderful people to work with and true professionals.  I look forward to seeing them again and going “back to my home on the Hudson River.

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A Family Reunion

I’m very excited to announce that a new production is just around the corner and it will bring two of our countries most dynamic Presidents to the same stage.  “The Roosevelts:  A Conversation with the Rough Rider and the New Dealer” will allow audiences to experience our 26th and 32nd POTUS in a live presentation.

I met Adam Lindquist in 2016 when we were both presenting at the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Park during their centennial celebration.  Adam is the consummate Theodore Roosevelt reenactor.  He looks, thinks, talks and reacts as TR.  His extensive research and study has paid off richly.  He IS Teddy Roosevelt.

Adam and I hit it off immediately and continued our relationship after our meeting in Kentucky.  After numerous communications we hit upon the idea of a two-man Roosevelt show.  We drafted a script and honed it after numerous revisions.  We are very excited to bring the final result to our premier performance May, 2018 in Rochester, Minnesota.

Audiences will finally get a chance to meet the two U.S. Presidents who consistently appear in historians’ “top five Presidents of all time.”  They will learn how the two men headed rival, major political parties but shared common roots.  It will be a rare insight into these two giants.  Their differences and similarities will become clear.

Adam and I hope that you will be able to enjoy, “The Roosevelts:  A Conversation with the Rough Rider and the New Dealer” in the future.  Feel free to contact me about booking information.

 

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Commander in Chief

It was a thrill to serve as Commander in Chief the weekend of May 20-21 at the World War II Encampment presented by the Museum of American Armor at Old Bethpage, Long Island New York.  The Museum and its incredible volunteers possess tanks, jeeps, equipment transports, ambulances and other armored vehicles from the WWII era.  Over the two days uniformed volunteers give demonstrations and present simulations for thousands of visitors.  I was able to greet the guests and participants, lead the parade of vehicles each day and participate in the flag raising ceremony.  Hopefully, the Museum (with my small contribution) encouraged those in attendance to realize the importance of this period in our nation’s history.  We must never forget the critical role our veterans and this incredible equipment played in securing our freedom.

It was a thrill to meet U. S. Representatives Peter King and Tom Suozzi, as well as many other elected officials from all over Long Island.  My FDR fedora is tipped to Gary Lewi who is the Vice President of the Museum of American Armor and the organizer of the Encampment.  His professionalism and attention to detail was evident throughout the entire event even though he shies way from the congratulations he so justly deserves.

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Torchlight Parade

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.

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Happy Birthday NPS

On August 25 I once again was able to visit with my friends at the Saratoga National Historical Park.  On this third visit there I helped celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.  On August 25, 1916 President Wilson established the NPS and during his administration FDR vastly enlarged the scope of the park service by putting historical and cultural monuments and sites under its jurisdiction.  He also signed bills creating several new park.  Visitors to the national parks increased from about three million in the early 1930s to more than fifteen million people by 1939 despite those being depression  years.  That is in part due to the work done by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) created by FDR.  We had a nice fireside chat at the SNHP and enjoyed s’mores afterward.   A great birthday party.

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Presidents All

What a great event I was able to be part of on July 16 and 17.  The Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park celebrated its centennial that weekend.  Their goal was to have all the U.S. Presidents attend who had visited the Park.  They almost made it.  The William Howard Taft reenactor had to pull out at the last minute for health reasons.  FDR, however, did share the weekend with Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower and, of course, Abe himself.  Even Mark Twain, who had been instrumental in helping create the park, was there.  All the presidents repeated the speeches they had made there.  We were also able to greet the hundreds of visitors who attended over the weekend.  My thanks to Park Ranger Gary Ferguson and the rest of the Park staff.  It was a fantastic event and I was honored to be part of it.

 

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Wilderness Wildlife Week

On May 18, 2016 I had the honor of serving as the Keynote Speaker for the 26th annual Wilderness Wildlife Week in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.  This week-long event celebrates activities and displays of the nearby Smoky Mountains.  On August 25, 1940 FDR dedicated the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  The park is now the most visited of the nations National Parks.

I, as FDR, was able to share the history of the National Park Service on this, the centennial year of its establishment, as well as relating the story of how the Great Smoky Mountains National Park came to be.  I was humbled at the standing ovation that our 32nd President received from the large crowd in attendance.

I am looking forward to appearances at the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Park in July, the Saratoga Historic National Park on August 25 (the actual day of the NPS centennial) and at FDR’s home on October 14 to recreate the Torchlight Parade that he was a part of on election nights during his presidency.  I hope to see you at one or more of these events.

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