The World in Muir Woods

U.N. delegates honored the late president at Muir Woods.

FDR Memorial Service
U.N. delegates honored the late president at Muir Woods.
Photo Credit: Courtesy Save the Redwoods League

A brass plaque set amidst a towering grove of ancient redwoods at Muir Woods commemorates a gathering there on May 19, 1945.

On that day, seventy years ago, hundreds gathered to honor the memory of President Franklin Roosevelt, who had died a few weeks before, on April 12. They included delegates from around the world who were in San Francisco to craft the Charter for the newly established United Nations. FDR had been the U.N.’s chief advocate.

FDR’s cousin, Theodore, as president, had enshrined Muir Woods as a national monument some forty years earlier. FDR himself had a passion for conservation and a deep knowledge of forestry. One of his first acts as president was to establish the Civilian Conservation Corps, whose enrollees planted nearly 3 billion trees and constructed more than 800 parks nationwide.

The closing speaker at the memorial service was Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., U.S. Secretary of State: “These great redwoods at Muir Woods National Monument are the most enduring of all trees,” he said. “They are as timeless and as strong as the ideals and faith of Franklin D. Roosevelt.”

The U.N. Charter was signed in San Francisco on June 26, 1945.

Susan Ives is communications director for the Living New Deal and editor of the Living New Deal newsletter.

4 comments on “The World in Muir Woods

  1. Ed Gullo

    …and still their works endure and enrich our lives.
    I have so much admiration for the Roosevelt families.
    A revival of their understanding of America, it’s people and priorities is badly needed today.

  2. Susan,
    I was touched to read you comments on the FDR plaque in Muir Woods. We happened upon that bronze plaque a few weeks back as I was walking through Muir Woods with a group of relatives as we (surreptitiously!) scattered some of the ashes of our father. For my father, who’s own father died when my dad was just a lad of 8 years, FDR was very much a father figure and throughout his long life he maintained a reverence for FDR. So it was a wonderful coincidence for us to encounter that bronze plaque in the holy temple of Muir Woods.
    Thank you,

    • Susan Ives

      Dear David,
      Muir Woods is a place that touches many of us so deeply. It’s a fitting place to reflect on our ancestors. FDR was a shining light for our parents’ generation. The more I learn through working with the Living New Deal, the more I realize how much both he and ER meant to working people and how thoroughly they inspired our country to do great things–even in the hardest of hard times. Thank you for your lovely message. I’m so sorry you lost your Dad.

  3. Every American should visit Muir Woods as it reflects a lot of our history!

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