January 8, 1919: Theodore Roosevelt Buried

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“Both life and death are part of the same great adventure.”

Theodore Roosevelt

 

Theodore Roosevelt was buried in Youngs Memorial Cemetery,   Oyster Bay a century ago after a simple funeral service at Christ Church, the Episocopalian church he and his family attended.  His son Archie was present, his son Quentin having been killed in the War, and his sons Theodore, Jr, and Kermit, still being on active service in Europe.

His grieving widow, Edith, would outlive her husband by nineteen years, she living to see 1948 and being 87 at the time of her death.  She campaigned briefly for Herbert Hoover in 1932, to emphasize that Franklin Roosevelt was not her son, a ridiculous fable being pedaled by some Democrats.  (She despised Eleanor Roosevelt.)  Prior to her death she destroyed almost all her correspondence with her husband, a loss to history, but she lived at a time when the division between private and public life was much better honored than it is at present.

The simple funeral of Theodore Roosevelt was striking at the time.  As newspaper accounts indicated, he was buried as a private citizen.  No eulogy and no music was part of the church service, and only 500 people were allowed to attend the funeral.  His wife was prostrate with her grief and remained at their home, neither attending the funeral service nor the burial.  Vice President Thomas Marshall represented the US government.

Such was the funeral of the greatest American president, up to his time, since Abraham Lincoln.

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