By Harvey S. Lutins
President Barack Obama visited our city recently to gain votes for his re-election. The last time an iconic statesman came to the city, not for his election, was on Oct.19, 1934. It was Franklin Delano Roosevelt who came to dedicate the veterans hospital in Salem.
He arrived by train at the Norfolk & Western passenger station and with a small motorcade traveled down Auburn Avenue (now Apperson Drive) to the facility. There was a specially erected platform to accommodate the president’s wheelchair. He spoke before a quiet and respectful crowd of a few thousand, mesmerized by his presence. I was 51/2 years old and sat on the shoulders of my father realizing this was something special. Eastern Europeans idolized FDR. I began voting as a Democrat in 1948 for Harry “Give ‘em hell” Truman.
Lutins is a Roanoke attorney.