Tag Archives: Franklin D. Roosevelt

Food: Nathan’s Famous

Starting in the 1950s, the Handwerker family, owners of Nathan's Famous, saw the money to be made through expansion and franchising. But the original at Coney Island in Brooklyn is the real deal. Uploaded by nileguide.com.

Nathan Handwerker made his way from Poland to Brooklyn in 1912, and soon found a job at the popular Coney Island called Feltman’s German Gardens. Two waiters you’ve probably heard of worked at Feltman’s at that time – Eddie Cantor and Jimmy Durante – and legend has it that they encouraged Nathan to set up his own hot dog stand to compete with Feltman’s. He did, and Nathan’s Famous began selling dogs for a nickel (Feltman’s charged a dime) in 1916.

Uploaded by nycfoodguy.com.

It wasn’t long before anyone who was anyone wanted to be seen at Nathan’s Famous. Perhaps the zenith of this famous hot dog came in 1939, when President Franklin Roosevelt served them to King George VI (of The King’s Speech fame) when George VI became the first British monarch ever to visit the United States. FDR also had Nathan’s sent to Yalta for his famous meeting with Stalin and Churchill.

After having just the one location for 43 years, the Handwerker family realized there was money to be made by expansion and franchising. So now there are 1,400 stores in 41 states and 17 countries. But there’s still only one place to get a real Nathan’s Famous hot dog. At Coney Island. In Brooklyn. New York, New York.

Person: Harry Truman

Truman is the closest thing we've had to a common man as President in a long time. Though he was a senator from Missouri, he did his job in obscurity until FDR chose him to replace Henry Wallace in his third term. Uploaded by americaslibrary.gov.

Again, I tread lightly when selecting a person from the political realm. But as with Ronald Reagan (Great American Things, February 7, 2011), I admire Harry Truman for the kind of person he was, not just for the job he did as President. But I do admire that as well.

Truman was plucked from obscurity by Franklin Roosevelt to succeed Henry Wallace as Vice President for FDR’s third (and fourth) term. Well, being a U.S. Senator from Missouri isn’t quite obscurity, but Truman wasn’t a leader on the national stage. When Roosevelt died unexpectedly of a cerebral hemorrhage, Truman became the leader of the free world in the midst of a world war.Upon taking office, he said, “Boys, if you ever pray, pray for me now. I don’t know if you fellas ever had a load of hay fall on you, but when they told me what happened yesterday, I felt like the moon, the stars, and all the planets had fallen on me.”

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He performed admirably, making the difficult decision to drop the A-bomb on Japan that ended the conflict. Among his other notable accomplishments were implementing the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe, creating the Air Force and the CIA, airlifting crucial supplies to break the blockade of West Berlin, recognizing the state of Israel, and assuring civilian control of the military by firing Gen. Douglas MacArthur.

Truman said of his life, “I always remember an epitaph which is in the cemetery at Tombstone, Arizona. It says: ‘Here lies Jack Williams. He done his damnedest.’ I think that is the greatest epitaph a man can have…That is all you can ask of him and that is what I have tried to do.”

Americana: The Lost Colony

The Lost Colony production was planned to last for one summer. But then FDR came to see the show, and it opened again the next year. It's now entering its 73rd season. Uploaded by americaslibrary.gov.

The people of Roanoke Island, part of the Outer Banks on North Carolina’s coast, were looking for the proper way to celebrate the 350th birthday of Virginia Dare. (Young Miss Dare, as you may remember, was the first child born in the Americas to English parents.) They decided to stage a play to run for that one year — 1937. They called the production they created The Lost Colony. It enjoyed a good summer, but then President Franklin D. Roosevelt came to see it. He loved it, word spread, and its popularity grew such that it ran another year.

And another. And another. Now, 73 years later, it’s still thrilling new generations of visitors.

Uploaded by lostcolony.org.

During its historic run, more than four million people have enjoyed The Lost Colony. It’s the story of settlers in the New World in 1587 who sent their governor back to England for supplies. He wasn’t able to return until 1590, and he found the settlement deserted. The only clue was the word “CROATAN” carved on a post.

If you make it to Roanoke Island in the summer, head to Waterside Theater any evening (except Sunday) to enjoy this remarkable piece of history. You won’t have any trouble finding it: Roanoke Island is only eight miles long by two miles wide…

Americana: Air Force One

Air Force One has more than 4,000 sq. ft. of living, meeting, and office space. Uploaded by dept. kent.edu.

Technically, any Air Force airplane transporting the President of the United States is designated as Air Force One. For our purposes, though, we’re designating the two airplanes that have been customized to carry the President as a Great American Thing.

Uploaded by wikimedia.org.

The first President to fly in an airplane while in office was Franklin D. Roosevelt, who flew to great powers conferences in Casablanca and Yalta. But it wasn’t until 1962 that the plane now designated “Air Force One” had a distinctive appearance. President John Kennedy commissioned industrial designer Raymond Loewy to create a unique exterior design for the presidential Boeing 707. Using a two-tone blue color scheme with the presidential seal near the nose and an American flag on the tail, the new look received immediate popular approval.

Uploaded by aurnol.com.

Today, the Air Force One planes are Boeing 747 wide-bodied jets, first brought into service during the administration of George H.W. Bush. They offer more than 4,000 sq. ft. of floor space and include a bedroom, bathroom, workout room, and conference room/dining room. The President and his senior staff have offices, and the press has a separate area. Air Force One can carry up to 70 passengers and 26 crew members…