Disabled Choose Franklin Delano Roosevelt as Person of the Century

Dec 27, 1999, 00:00 ET from National Organization on Disability

    WASHINGTON, Dec. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Organization on
 Disability (N.O.D.) announced today the selection of President Franklin Delano
 Roosevelt as its Person of the Century.
     In TIME Magazine's celebrated Person of the Century selection, Roosevelt
 finished second only to Einstein among all men and women -- disabled and non-
     Alan Reich, President of N.O.D., stated that FDR is the only world leader
 in history to overcome a major disability and reach the pinnacle of global
 power.  "Those of us in the disability community, 54 million in the United
 States and half a billion people around the world -- have long understood
 FDR's unique triumph," said Reich.  "And now at the dawn of the new
 millennium, FDR has finally been recognized for his achievements as President,
 accepted by all as an outstanding world leader."
     Although he could not stand or walk unassisted, President Franklin D.
 Roosevelt with dignity led America through its gravest crises of the century
 -- the Great Depression and to victory in World War II.  Paralyzed from the
 waist down by polio in 1921 at the age of 39, FDR used a wheelchair every day
 during his twelve years in the White House.  He became, through sheer
 determination and courage one of the country's most effective and beloved
 leaders -- an inspiration to all people, with and without disabilities.
     N.O.D.'s mission, fulfilling FDR's legacy, is to expand the participation
 of people with disabilities in all aspects of life -- employment, education,
 voting, religious worship, in social recreation and community activities.
     Reich continued, "President Roosevelt's victory in overcoming his
 disability while managing national and international crises sets an inspiring
 example not only for the disabled community, but the non-disabled community as
     The disability community, led by N.O.D., is currently raising funds to
 construct and place a statue of President Roosevelt in his wheelchair at the
 FDR Memorial in Washington, D.C.  In addition, N.O.D.'s World Committee on
 Disability, in cooperation with the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute
 and the United Nations, has established the $50,000 FDR International
 Disability Award to honor and encourage nations to work toward full and equal
 participation of persons with disabilities in their society.  The award is
 presented annually at the U.N. to a nation that has made noteworthy progress
 on behalf of the half billion persons with disabilities, the majority of whom
 live below the poverty line in developing countries.
     The National Organization on Disability promotes the full and equal
 participation of America's 54 million men, women and children with
 disabilities in all aspects of life.  N.O.D. was founded in 1982 at the
 conclusion of the United Nations International Year of Disabled Persons.
 N.O.D. is the only national disability network organization concerned with all
 disabilities, all age groups and all disability issues.  N.O.D. is funded
 entirely by private donations and accepts no government funding.  For more
 information about  FDR as Person of the Century, N.O.D and its programs, visit
 N.O.D.'s website at www.nod.org.
     Note: See N.O.D.'s  FDR ad (p.45) in TIME's "Person of the Century" issue,

SOURCE National Organization on Disability