|Fala and FDR at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington|
Every month produced its share of headlines during World War II, and September 1944 certainly was no exception. The Allies liberated Brussels and Antwerp that month. Germany lobbed a V2 rocket at London. The Battle of Peleliu, which would drag on for more than two months amid tremendous carnage, began. The Allies launched the ill-fated Operation Market Garden, the largest airborne assault in history.
September 1944 also is remembered for another, more lighthearted, reason. It was on Sept. 23 of that year that President Roosevelt delivered a speech in which he defended his Scottish Terrier, Fala.
Republicans were claiming that Roosevelt, having left Fala behind during a visit to the Aleutian Islands, sent the Navy to retrieve him. The story was false, but it gained enough traction to become a distraction during the 1944 presidential campaign, so Roosevelt took it on in his so-called Fala Speech.
These Republican leaders have not been content with attacks on me, or my wife, or on my sons. No, not content with that, they now include my little dog, Fala.Well, of course, I don’t resent attacks, and my family doesn’t resent attacks, but Fala does resent them.You know, Fala is Scotch, and being a Scottie, as soon as he learned that the Republican fiction writers in Congress and out had concocted a story that I had left him behind on the Aleutian Islands and had sent a destroyer back to find him — at a cost to the taxpayers of two or three or eight or twenty million dollars — his Scotch soul was furious.He has not been the same dog since.I am accustomed to hearing malicious falsehoods about myself — such as that old, worm-eaten chestnut that I have represented myself as indispensable. But I think I have a right to resent, to object, to libelous statements about my dog.