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VIEW OF THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES IN JOINT SESSION, MARCH 4, 1939 SESQUICENTENNIAL OF THE CONGRESS
The Chaplain, Rev. James Shera Montgomery, D. D., offered the following prayer:
Most gracious Lord of mankind, Thou wert our fathers' God. In Thee they trusted and were never put to shame. In darkness Thou didst give them light, in danger succor, and in perplexity guidance. Oh, blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. Today we seek to do homage to it because of its ideals. Our soil bears the footprints of the glorious company of apostles of liberty and humanity. They closed old epochs and ushered in new ones by declaring the rights of God and man; may we ever love their labors with the breath of life. O breathe upon this great people the same wisdom, the same sacrificial devotion, and the same ambition for the highest treasures which bring in their train all earthly good. We love and cherish our homeland and rejoice that by Thy merciful providence we were reared beneath its benignant skies. Grant, blessed Lord, that a fervent and unwearied love of country may be so strong that tyrants and their cohorts may never be able to loosen the fireproof foundations of our democracy. Preserve us from all revolutionary passions and the rolling tides of war; continue to be the anchor of our Nation's thoughts and the guardian of its soul. Thine shall be the praise forever. Through Christ our Saviour. Amen.
At 12 o'clock and 5 minutes p. m., the Doorkeeper, Mr. Joseph J. Sinnot, announced the Vice President of the United States and the Members of the Senate.
The Members of the House rose.
The Senate, the Vice President and the President Pro Tempore, preceded by its Chief Clerk, Mr. John C. Crockett, and Sergeant at Arms, Col. Chesley W. Jurney, entered the Chamber.
The Vice President took the chair to the right of the Speaker, and the Members of the Senate took the seats reserved for them.
Whereupon, the Speaker relinquished the gavel to the Vice President, who, as the Presiding Officer of the Joint Session of the two Houses, called the meeting to order.
The Doorkeeper announced the following guests of honor, who were escorted to the seats assigned to them:
The Chief Justice of the United States and the Associate
Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States. The Ambassadors, the Ministers and the Chargé d'Affaires
of Foreign Governments.
The Chief of Staff of the United States Army, the Chief of
Naval Operations of the United States Navy, the Major
The members of the President's Cabinet. At 12 o'clock and 16 minutes p. m., the Doorkeeper announced the President of the United States, accompanied by the Joint Congressional Committee on Arrangements of the Senate and House, who was escorted to a seat on the Speaker's rostrum.
Miss Gladys Swarthout sang “America."
The VICE PRESIDENT. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New York, Mr. Bloom, a member of the Joint Committee on Arrangements, to read the concurrent resolution providing for the assembling of the two Houses of Congress in the Hall of the House of Representatives on this day for the purpose of holding fitting and proper exercises in commemoration of the One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Commencement of the First Congress of the United States under the Constitution.
Mr. Bloom. On February 1, 1939, the following concurrent resolution was adopted by the Congress (reading]:
Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That in commemoration of the one hundred fiftieth anniversary of the First Congress of the United States under the Constitution, begun and held at the city of New York on Wednesday, the 4th of March 1789, the two Houses of Congress shall assemble in the Hall of the House of Representatives at 12 o'clock m., on Saturday, March 4, 1939.
That a joint committee consisting of five Members of the House of Representatives and five Members of the Senate shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate, respectively, which is empowered to make suitable arrangements for fitting and proper exercises for the joint session of Congress herein authorized.
That invitations to attend the exercises be extended to the President of the United States and the members of his Cabinet, the Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States, the Diplomatic Corps (through the Secretary of State), the General of the Armies, the Chief of Staff of the Army, the Chief of Naval Operations, the Major General Commandant of the Marine Corps, and the Commandant of the Coast Guard, and such other persons as the Joint Committee on Arrangements shall deem proper.
That the President of the United States is hereby invited to address the American people at the joint session of the Congress in commemoration of the one hundred fiftieth anniversary of the First Congress of the United States under the Constitution.
Adopted February 1, 1939.
Mr. BLOOM. Ladies and gentlemen, I have the honor to present the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. WILLIAM B. BANKHEAD.
ADDRESS OF HONORABLE WILLIAM B. BANKHEAD
SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES MR. PRESIDENT, Mr. Vice President, Gentlemen of the Supreme Court, Members of the Senate and House of Representatives, Gentlemen of the Diplomatic Corps, Ladies and Gentlemen:
I feel very deeply my great good fortune in being the Speaker of the House today, because of that position I am the one privileged to welcome you to this Hall on this memorable occasion.
A mere century and a half is relatively a short span in the history of a nation, but when that period is the limit of the official life of the most powerful nation on earth, it assumes a vastly more comprehensive significance.
One hundred and fifty years ago this day there assembled in the city of New York the First Congress of the United States of America under its newly adopted Constitution. The mere statement of that incident carries only a reflection of the years that have passed, but in terms of what that occasion meant there has been no more arresting episode in the history of modern civilization. The proprieties of this occasion forbid even a casual review on my part of the historical background of the event we are convened to celebrate.
The student of the records of civilization always remembers a few outstanding things that have marked the progress of man from the dawn of organized society on through the tortuous and halting centuries in his search for a decent and stable formula of government that would combine into a compact of action the peace and security of peoples.
The Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, St. Paul at Rome, the voyages of Columbus, the Napoleonic Wars, Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, and the establishment of our Constitution illustrate a few of the milestones that mark the pilgrimage of men on the journey from chaos to stability.
Today we may find the temper to forget advances in the realms of religion, science, discovery, warfare, and the cultural arts and fix our contemplation on government, and particularly our own government.
There has been no period within the recollection of this generation more full of signs and portents than this present hour of the necessity of reappraising the soundness and desirability of our demo