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Former United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt contracted polio and became a paraplegic when he was only 39-years old. But in order to not appear weak in front of his people, he designed his own walking method that was meant to hide his incapacities. He was wearing leg braces, was walking with a cane and usually, his son or a bodyguard was helping him. This way, he could move short distances without the need of a wheelchair. However, the 32nd President was still slightly embarrassed that the people might see him as a weak and vulnerable.
Because of this, he asked the press to not photograph him as he was walking, entering or exiting his car. Moreover, the Secret Service had the task of stopping people from taking pictures of the President. According to a 1946 White House photography corps survey, if someone was caught photographing Roosevelt, they had their cameras emptied, the films exposed to sunlight or even their plates destroyed. This is why a recently-discovered video footage taken during the 1935 White House Easter Egg Roll is so shocking an unexpected. It shows president Roosevelt actually walking.
Rare footage of FDR walking was recently discovered
According to reports, a Nevada rancher named Frederick Hill took the silent film while he attended the event with his wife and two children. According to experts, most likely, the Secret Service did not notice him using the camera. If they had, this 16mm film wouldn’t have existed now.
The footage shows Roosevelt being helped by his personal bodyguard, Gus Gennerich. He is helping the President walk around and always stands behind him for support. Even if the portion that shows him walking is only 30-seconds long, it’s enough to prove how ambitious he was to not let the people see his weakness. Despite this problem, Roosevelt looks as if he was the happiest man, without a care in the world.
Image source: wikimedia