Ted Roosevelt was never elected President, but it’s not even close to fair to say that he never did anything important. He served in various political positions — New York State Assemblyman, Governor of Puerto Rico, Governor-General of the Philippines, and Assistant Secretary of the Navy (like his father and his cousin, FDR) in the Harding Administration.
More impressively, he was a war hero — in BOTH World Wars. He died during World War II as a Brigadier General. He didn’t die in battle, but he was so ill that he had to beg for permission to take part in the D-Day landings and died of his heart condition in France shortly after D-Day. He was the oldest soldier who landed in the first wave of the invasion on D-Day. He was the only General who landed in the first wave of the invasion on D-Day. Not only that, but he actually needed to use a cane just to get around — and STILL landed on Utah Beach on D-Day. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on D-Day. It wasn’t an honorary award; he deserved it. It’s ridiculous to say that Ted Roosevelt didn’t do anything important.
And that’s just the end of his life. Literally! He died a month after the invasion. He also probably deserved a Medal of Honor for his service during World War I. Ted was a brilliant commander and beloved by his soldiers. At one point, he bought new boots for all of the troops in his battalion. He was wounded in action and suffered a gas attack with his battalion. During his military career — in both World Wars — he ended up earning the Medal of Honor, a Silver Star, the Distinguished Service Cross, a Purple Heart, and, from France, the Legion of Honour and Croix de Guerre. After WWI, he even helped found the American Legion.
Ted Roosevelt’s political life wasn’t as impressive as his father’s or his cousin’s, but he was a remarkable man.
I was definitely bummed to hear that Senator Inouye passed away on Monday. I had actually been reading quite a bit about Inouye recently, and his death came just a few days after I had mentioned him in a post after the Senate’s despicable rejection of the United Nations treaty on the rights of disabled people.
The word “hero” is frequently over-used, but not in the case of Daniel Inouye. The Senator was a true American hero, a legendary warrior in the most decorated American combat unit of World War II, and a man who selflessly dedicated his entire life to serving our country and the people of Hawaii. I can’t imagine that too many years will pass before Hawaii replaces one of its two statues in the National Statuary Hall with a likeness of Daniel Inouye.
I also found it to be fitting and beautiful that the last thing that Senator Inouye said before dying was “Aloha”.