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in the crucible of public service with our departed colleagues, who now rest forever in the calm and peaceful bosom of eternity.
Of all the events in life, death, with its mysterious realism, is the most startling and dramatic. No one can stand in its awful presence and not be moved to a deeper and more abiding solicitude for the rights of our fellow man; nor can one encounter its grim realities without becoming more tolerant, more sympathetic, more understanding of the frailties of human nature and without a deeper conscientious realization of our own imperfection and mortality.
How fleeting is time and how transitory and temporal is the applause of the people or the honors and dignities conferred upon man in the short span of human life. And what a stern realization of that fact have we before us today, as we listen in vain for voices we knew so well to respond to the roll call who but a short yesterday were active participators in the deliberations of our body and wielded vast and far-reaching influence in the formation of the legislative program of the Nation.
Away. We know that tears are vain,
That Death nor heeds nor hears distress:
Or make one mourner weep the less?
And thou, who tellst me to forget,
Thy looks are wan, thine eyes are wet.
Our colleagues whose untimely passing we commemorate today were privileged to serve their country during some of the most crucial and fateful years in the history of the Republic.
During their official service as Members of the Congress of the United States they viewed with alarm and deep concern the grave uncertainty and distress which engulfed the citizenship of our land. During those early days of the depression they observed their fellow citizens in mass formation storm the very doors of the Nation's Capitol, demanding food
and shelter for themselves and for their families. They witnessed the bankruptcy of agriculture, the prostration of business, the failure of thousands of banking institutions throughout the land, the foreclosure of countless homes and farms, the sorry and desperate plight of the wage earner and the farmer, and the prevailing fear and trepidation which seemed to strike at the very heart and sinews of our American national life.
Our departed colleagues, with undismayed courage and a high conception of American statesmanship faced their grave responsibility and contributed generously and unreservedly of their sagacious counsel, and their profound knowledge and wisdom, in devising ways and means to remedy these oppressing conditions and to relieve the circumstances which were well-nigh overwhelming the moral courage and grim fortitude of our people.
They were active participators in the great emergency program to revive agriculture, to furnish governmental aid, and financial assistance to business and industry, and to restore confidence and security in our banking system. They actively assisted in the enactment of laws to alleviate the suffering of our citizens and were contributors to all social legislation for the welfare of the poor and underprivileged of our land.
Our departed colleagues were privileged to serve in the Congress of the United States during the rise of the dictators and witnessed the tremendous growth of the nefarious doctrines of communism and nazi-ism, and saw them become the dominant policy and religion, so to speak, of countless numbers of heretofore God-fearing men and women of great nations of the world.
They observed in their lifetime the war clouds again hover over the nations of Europe, threatening to engulf the entire world once more in conflagration. They witnessed the march of the highly mechanized and modernized armies of the dictators against countries ill-equipped for war, and by fire and sword saw them conquer and destroy nations, subject their
citizens to a lifetime of sorrow and misery, and bury forever the last vestige of hope for liberty and freedom for untold millions of human beings.
Robert Ingersoll, appearing before the tomb of Napoleon, expressed himself in the following words:
I would rather have been a French peasant and worn wooden shoes. I would rather have lived in a hut with a vine growing over the door, and the grapes growing purple in the amorous kisses of the autumn sun. would rather have been that poor peasant, with my loving wife by my side, knitting as the day died out of the sky, with my children upon my knees and their arms about me. I would rather have been that man, and gone down to the tongueless silence of the dreamless dust, than to have been that imperial impersonation of force and murder, known as Napoleon the Great.
I pause and wonder, my fellow colleagues, when at some time in the future, when these dictators who have caused the pangs of war to again cloud the happiness and peace of the world are summoned to embark on that fateful voyage, from which no traveler returneth, what complacency of thought, what peace of mind and heart can be theirs. When the very shrouds which enwrap their cold and lifeless clay shall be drenched with the blood and tears of countless numbers of human beings, decreed by them to a vale of misery, suffering, famine, pestilence, and death.
The garlands wither on your brow;
Then boast no more your mighty deeds;
Upon death's purple altar now
See where the victor-victim bleeds;
Your heads must come
To the cold tomb;
Only the actions of the just
Smell sweet, and blossom in their dust.
What a sad commentary of fate that in this age of enlightenment, of intellectual development, of cultural advancement, and of great scientific discoveries—all for the happiness and betterment of mankind-that the people of the world should again be plunged into the horrors and terrors of war, with all the resulting suffering and misery therein entailed.
From the sad plight and appalling despair of these unfortunate nations, let us resolve that, from the hallowed ashes of our departed colleagues, never again shall we vote to plunge America into a foreign holocaust of war, or ever again consecrate any foreign soil with the lifeblood of our American youth, to save or preserve the integrity of any foreign monarchy, dynasty, or power.
America will fight only for America, and to keep inviolate our priceless heritage of liberty and freedom, and the preservation of our democratic form of government.
These were the ideals, my fellow citizens, our departed colleagues cherished and sustained in their lifetime, and for the love of which they nobly laid down their lives. As distinguished Members of Congress, they served their country loyally and well, and carved their names high in the annals of American statesmanship. They enjoyed the love and affection of their fellow citizens, and the respect and esteem of their fellow Members of Congress. They have left to their loved ones, and to the Nation, a noble heritage of honor and glory upon the altar of public service.
This is the last time the names of our departed colleagues will ever be officially called from the floor of the Congress of the United States. No more shall we disturb the tranquillity of their slumber; no more shall we derange the peace and calm of their repose; but, with the hallowed love and enduring affection of the Congress of the United States, and the entire Nation, we reconsecrate their tombs with the fervent hopes and prayers of all America that from their noble and revered spirits we may rededicate our efforts to keep aglow the torch of liberty and freedom they so valiantly and patriotically carried in the service of their country, and which they now pass on to us, unsullied and undefiled.
Their love of country, their ardor and devotion to their Nation's welfare, their nobility of character have forever enshrined their memory in a diadem of perpetual light, which will glow, with ever-increasing splendor, in the hearts of their fellow countrymen, long after monuments of granite and
stone have crumbled into dust and decay; and so, with all our heartfelt affection, compassion, and reverence, we fondly say, “Farewell, our beloved colleagues; farewell forever":
Our hearts, our hopes, are all with thee,
Our hearts, our hopes, our prayers, our tears,
Our faith triumphant o'er our fears,
Are all with thee,-are all with thee!
Mr. Bill Perry sang "Then Shall the Righteous Shine Forth" (Felix Mendelssohn).
Hon. Roy O. WOODRUFF, a Representative from the State of Michigan, delivered the following address:
ADDRESS BY HON. ROY O. WOODRUFF, OF MICHIGAN
Mr. WOODRUFF of Michigan. Mr. Speaker, again there has come that day which we dedicate to our colleagues who have crossed over to that mystic realm from which no traveler returns.
Our hearts, of course, are full of thoughts which cannot be expressed in words, and of feelings which we do not even wish to voice here.
The passing of a colleague brings to each and every one of us not only grief at the severing of associations but a somber pondering on the meaning of this enigma of human existence. The mortal sense of life would make of man little more than the grass of the fields, flourishing for a brief season, and then withering away. Compared to eternity the human span is but a twinkling. We are apt to forget that billions of individuals have come and gone; millions who are now living will, in no great stretch of time, join the silent majority.
One may well wonder sometimes whether we take ourselves too seriously on this tiny grain of sand whirling through space in the company of millions of other planets, making up the galaxies of the universe. When we stop to realize by what a narrow margin we cling to that which we call life, we wonder not that some of our colleagues have gone from us, but that more have not gone.