Home  »  Theodore Roosevelt, the Citizen  »  Page 440

Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914). Theodore Roosevelt, the Citizen. 1904.

Page 440

in the War Department. That lonely man had few enough of his kind about him. At a time when the camps were gloomy and the outlook dark, it was Roosevelt who got up the—I came near saying the round-robin to his countrymen; it is not always an easy thing to keep the two Theodores apart. But that was not what was wanted at that time; it was a message of cheer from home, and it came in the shape of a giant Thanksgiving dinner sent from the North to the Army of the Potomac. Veterans remember it well, and how it revived flagging spirits and put heart into things, though grumblers were not wanting to dub it fantastical. Mr. Roosevelt got that up. He collected the funds, and, with his marvelous faculty for getting things done, made it the rousing success it was. Perhaps it is not a great thing to give a dinner; but just then it was the one thing to be done, and he did it. Then, when the fight was over, he had a hand in organizing the Protective War Claims Association, which collected the dues of crippled veterans and of the families of the dead without charge, and saved them from the fangs of the sharks. It was at Mr. Roosevelt’s house that the Soldiers’