Friday, October 10, 2008

Of father and son - happy birthday, Kermit Roosevelt.

On October 10th, 1889, Kermit Roosevelt, third child and second son of United States Civil Service Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt and his wife Edith was born at the family home at Sagamore Hill, Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York.

TR had six children, daughter Alice born just two days before Alice Hathaway Lee Roosevelt, her mother, died of Bright's disease on February 14, 1884. Nine months and one week after marrying in December 1886, Edith and Theodore welcomed Ted, Jr. Kermit followed and then Ethel, Archie and Quentin.

Though he was the youngest, Quentin was the first to die in 1918, the death with honor due to the fallen World War One aviator. Heartbroken, his father would die within six months. During World War Two, Kermit died in Alaska in 1943, the self-inflicted nature of his fatal gunshot being kept from his failing mother. Ted went on to have a famous civic and military career, dying while on duty, a general in the fields of France in 1944.

In 1977, Ethel Roosevelt Derby passed away after a lifetime spent in the quiet service of others, from WWI nurse in France to civil rights advocate in her final decades. Archie passed in 1979. While he enjoyed a succesful business career in his later years, he spent his youth in service to his country, being the only American soldier, as a result of combat injuries, to be declared 100% disabled in both world wars. Alice Roosevelt Longworth was the last of the children to pass, in 1980, just after her 96th birthday.

Reflecting on Kermit's birthday, I'm so very impressed with the strength and depth in the man. In both of the World Wars, he volunteered for duty with the British forces to get into the war sooner. Kermit spent many months hunting with his father in Africa in 1909 and 1910 and exploring the Amazon in 1913 and 1914. A decade after their father's death, Ted and Kermit had a tremendous hunting adventure in the steppes of Mongolia.

Celebrating a Roosevelt birthday, I pause to celebrate my father's birthday, like Kermit, October 10th. I'm not my father's oldest son, but, like Kermit, I've been blessed to join him on some special adventures. He has inspired me to follow my dreams, as an entertainer and a public servant. For a good time, visit

No comments: