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Theodore Roosevelt Jr.: 5 Facts About President's Eldest Son

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Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. (Wikimedia)

By    |   Sunday, 07 September 2014 06:20 PM

Theodore Roosevelt Jr., the eldest son of America’s 26th president, was a war hero, a successful businessman and, of course, a politician.

Here are five facts about Roosevelt Jr.’s accomplishments, many of which highlight the leadership skills he may have learned from his father:

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1. Roosevelt Jr. fought in World War I, ascending to the rank of lieutenant colonel. He left service and then returned to active duty in April 1941 in command of the 26th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division. He was promoted to the rank of brigadier general.

Roosevelt Jr. was considered a hero of WWI, taking machine gun fire to his leg and refusing care to return to the front line.

2. At the start of World War II, Roosevelt Jr. wanted to fight again in the military, despite his age and the bad leg he had from WWI. Although the military originally rejected him, he ended up fighting, and was among the first to land in North Africa where he fought in hand-to-hand combat.

He also was on the beach for D-Day, directing the invasion, and was on the beach with his “cane waving in the air and oblivious of the bullets whizzing by his head,” the Sun Sentinel said. He would die a month later of a heart attack.

The Sons of the American Revolution quoted Roosevelt Jr.’s Medal of Honor Citation: “He repeatedly led groups from the beach, over the seawall and established them inland. His valor, courage, and presence in the very front of the attack and his complete unconcern at being under heavy fire inspired the troops to heights of enthusiasm and self-sacrifice.”

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3. Injuries that Roosevelt Jr. received while playing football at Groton School and then later at Harvard University pushed President Roosevelt to demand rule changes in a game that was much different than it is played today, the Times said.

Roosevelt had for years expressed his appreciation for what he called “manly sports,” and said, “I do not feel any particular sympathy for the person who gets battered about a good deal — so long as it is not fatal,” The New York Times reported.

But injuries became more frequent and the Times referred to it as a “killing field,” leading Harvard’s president and others to consider abolishing the game. Roosevelt Jr. was injured while playing, and his father became involved in the national debate about football. Changes led to the establishment of the Intercollegiate Athletic Association and new rules, the Times said.

4. After graduating from Harvard, Roosevelt Jr. worked as a branch manager of an investment bank and in the steel and carpet businesses. He later served as vice president of Doubleday Publishing, chairman of the board of American Express Co., vice president of Boy Scouts of America, and president of the National Council on Health.

5. Roosevelt Jr.’s political career occurred in 1919 when he was elected to the New York State Assembly, then later on President Warren Harding asked him to serve as assistant secretary to the Navy. In 1924, he ran for New York governor, but lost. Roosevelt Jr. served as governor of Puerto Rico and governor general of the Phillippines.

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Theodore Roosevelt Jr., the eldest son of America's 26th president, was a war hero, a successful businessman and, of course, a politician.
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Sunday, 07 September 2014 06:20 PM
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