Located along the famous Cherry Tree Walk on the Tidal Basin near the National Mall, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial is a memorial not only to President of the United States Franklin Delano Roosevelt, but also to the era he represents. The monument traces twelve years of the History of the United States through a sequence of four outdoor rooms, each one devoted to one of FDR's terms of office. Sculptures inspired by photographs depict the 32nd President. Some examples include a 10-foot statue showing him in a wheeled chair and a bas-relief depicting him riding in a car during his first inaugural. At the very beginning of the memorial is a statue with FDR seated in a wheelchair much like the one he actually used.

In his 1941 State of the Union Address, as the nation prepared for war, President Roosevelt spelled out "Four Freedoms" as a reminder of what we must fight for. From the days of his first Presidential campaign during the depths of the Great Depression, Roosevelt spoke directly to the people. "I pledge you, I pledge myself," he said in his 1932 acceptance speech, "to a new deal for the American people." Four years later, he proclaimed that "this generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny." Throughout his Presidency, 1933 - 1945, he addressed America by radio in what came to be known as fireside chats. Each idea, each phrase was underscored by courage and optimism that inspired no less in the people he served.

More than 50 years after Roosevelt's death, his own words call out from the walls of his memorial as if he were somehow present. Those of us who know FDR only as an historical figure will recognize these words by their association with great and catastrophic events. For the many Americans who lived through the Roosevelt years, the words recall personal struggles and triumphs during 12 years that seemed like a lifetime.