Sosa – Close Reading: Thank you, Mr. President

Teacher: Sosa (


Read the following passage and answer the questions that follow. Send the answers to the teacher via email or ClassDojo message.

From Thank You, Mr. President by A. Merriman Smith

Smith was a journalist who wrote news stories about President Roosevelt. Smith was in Warm Springs covering Roosevelt’s vacation and wrote about his death. Later, he wrote a book about his experiences as a White House correspondent, which included Roosevelt’s funeral day.

1 Shortly after nine o’clock, the Secret Service notified the three White House reporters to get in a car and go to the Little White House. We were to come back to the train in the funeral procession . . .

2 The square at Georgia Hall was thronged with hundreds of the president’s close friends. They looked at the procession with tearful eyes, and then bowed their heads in silence as the cortege passed.

3 First into the square was the United States Army band from Fort Benning. The roll of its muffled drums sounded dolefully through the soft, still country air. The white columns of Georgia Hall glistened in the brilliant southern sun.

4 One thousand infantrymen carrying carbines, then troops with rifles marched behind the band. The colors of each company carried black streamers to signify the mourning for their commander in chief. Then came the hearse. The president’s body was in a copper-lined, flag-draped mahogany coffin.

5 The patients at Georgia Hall were drawn up in a large semicircle around the driveway. Some were on crutches. Others in wheelchairs. And others confined to their beds. There were no restrained emotions in this group. Their idol, their hope was dead. The world was at an end.

6 Mrs. Roosevelt had requested that the hearse stop momentarily at the entrance of Georgia Hall—just a brief stop, the kind the president had made every time he left Warm Springs in the past. The president always had waved and assured the patients of his return within a few months.

7 This morning, they knew too well he would not be back. Just as the hearse stopped, a Coast Guardsman, Chief Petty Officer Graham Jackson, stepped from behind the columns. Jackson was one of the president’s favorite musicians and he had his accordion with him.

8 Tears were streaming down Jackson’s cheeks as he lifted his accordion and began the soft strains of Dvorak’s “Going Home.” Kids buried their faces in their elbows and wept loudly. Case-hardened nurses and doctors sniffled and looked at the ground. Only the very young—those too young to know—seemed to be tearless.

Reading Comprehension Questions

– What is the purpose of the passage’s main event?

A to thank the patients at Georgia Hall

B to mourn the death of President Roosevelt

C to play President Roosevelt’s favorite song

D to gather the United States military

– Why did Mrs. Roosevelt request that the hearse stop at the Georgia Hall entrance?

A She wanted to pause to discuss the procession’s next stop.

B She wanted to pause to meet with army soldiers.

C She wanted to pause to silence the large crowd that had gathered.

D She wanted to pause to show respect for an important tradition.

– The author of this passage views the president’s procession with

A pain and sorrow.

B a sense of boredom.

C shock and anger.

D a sense of confusion.

– Which underlined word from the passage has a positive connotation?

A “looked at the procession”

B “glistened in the brilliant southern sun”

C “drawn up in a large semicircle”

D “requested that the hearse stop momentarily”


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