The Right Place

In February 1933, Franklin Roosevelt gave an impromptu speech from the back of an open car in Miami. Local resident Lillian Cross stood on a bench to get a better view, and a man stood up with her.

“I glanced up at him and saw he had a pistol,” she said later. “He began shooting toward Mr. Roosevelt. I grabbed his arm and pushed it with all my strength into the air, and called for help. A man named Tom Armour also grabbed his arm, and the next thing I knew some other men had reached him and were choking him.

“The shots made a terrific noise in my ear. He kept shooting and trying to force my arm down, but I wouldn’t let go. I couldn’t have held much longer, however, when Mr. Armour seized him. A second or two later the Legion boys came smashing through and we all went tumbling off the bench together. My breath was knocked out, but I wasn’t hurt.”

She was 5 foot 4 and weighed 100 pounds. The assassin, Giuseppe Zangara, was ultimately executed for the murder of Chicago mayor Anton Cermak, who was killed in the attack.