Monday, August 20, 2012

FDR's park and America's second "day of infamy"

Franklin Delano Roosevelt's life was changed forever one morning on Campobello Island, located a few hundred yards over the Canadian border from Lubec. He was at his summer cottage, in bed. He tried to get up, but his legs didn't work. The doctor in Lubec was stumped. Nobody in the Passamaquoddy region had ever seen polio -- which FDR contracted at a Boy Scout camp in New York -- before.

Today, FDR's cottage is part of a unique and incredibly beautiful international park, co-administered and co-funded by the United States and Canada. That park has also faced a major upset -- the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks -- and, like its namesake, it has had to refocus its energies to recover.

I revisited the park earlier this summer, and my feature on its foundation, its namesake, and its current struggle is in the Insight section of this week's Maine Sunday Telegram. Read and enjoy.

One note: I've received a number of e-mails and calls from recent visitors to the island who have been told by Lubec customs that they don't really need a passport to get back into the U.S., just a photo i.d. It's great that Lubec is taking a practical approach to Campobello's strange geography, but technically they're doing you a favor. Officially you really do need a passport.

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