It’s President’s Day and while many are happily given the holiday off I am busy writing, and thinking about this day in regard to my novel titled, Paper Boats. The book is set in post World War Two and Franklin Roosevelt is still president of the United States (He died in early April, 1945). I read many books about Roosevelt and I thought it would a good idea to share one of the things he did while president during this very challenging time. I won’t go into the politics of it because that’s sure to garner a huge debate! Ha! But we can discuss his overall affect upon a country not ready for war. I also find that Roosevelt shared many similar characteristics to Otto, the main character in Paper Boats.
I think the most important thing President Roosevelt did was unite the country for the war effort. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor he wasted no time. Again, the United States was not ready for a war. Not even a small skirmish! We had a couple of ships, about two tanks and a bunch of green soldiers, airmen, seamen, and marines. Okay, I’m exaggerating a bit, but it’s close to the truth. Roosevelt got this country together and whipped people into shape quickly, from manufacturing to farming, he created a low 2% unemployment rate! Now I’m not saying he ended segregation and we were all perfectly united in that way, but personally in our own hearts, black, white, Indian, woman, man or child, you knew what you were fighting for: freedom.
Otto was very much the same way. During his journey he united his companions, and developed a camaraderie filled with love, understanding and hope. He set one goal for his friends, which was for them to survive the war. Otto, like Roosevelt, put aside politics, race, religion and all else. He focused on being human and doing the most important thing. He focused on doing what was right.