A Day of Mourning

April 14, 1945(1)

James V. Bennett,
Bureau of Prisons,
Department of Justice,
Washington 25, D. C.

Dear Mr. Bennett:

When I received your night letter of April 13, 1945, I had copies prepared on Western Union copy forms and placed one on the Officer's Bulletin Board and one on the Bulletin Board in the inmates Recreation Yard. Previously, on the afternoon of Thursday the fifteenth, instant, I had posted notice on the Bulletin Board that we had a radio flash announcing the sudden death of the President.

Inasmuch as all the official and authoritative radio announcements indicated that war effort would be continued while non-essential work would be discontinued, we operated our war industry shops on Saturday monring, ceasing work at noon so that there was no activity during the time of the funeral services. Father Lyons, Catholic Chaplain, will hold Services tomorrow morning and no doubt his sermon will be in line with the memorial services that are being held everywhere throughout the Nation.

The suddenness and unexpectedness of the death of the President was a tragic blow at a critical moment and it is evident on all sides that the people have been shocked into a realization of the greatness of his leadership, the sacrifices that he made in their services, and their consequent loss in the war that he carried on in their behalf.




(1)Roosevelt died on Thursday, 12 April 1945 at his home in Warm Springs, Georgia. Johnston or his secretary seem to have confused this date in the second sentence where he makes reference to "Thursday the fifteenth". [Return]