Page images
PDF
EPUB

WILLIAM BEN CRAVENS, Fourth Congressional District of Arkansas: Lawyer; city attorney, Fort Smith, 1898–1902; prosecuting attorney of the twelfth judicial district of Arkansas 1900-06; Member of the Sixtieth, Sixty-first, Sixty-second, Seventy-third, Seventyfourth, Seventy-fifth, and Seventy-sixth Congresses. Died January 13, 1939.

JOHN BURRWOOD DALY, Fourth Congressional District of Pennsyl. vania: Lawyer; educator; master of arts and doctor of laws; assistant city solicitor of Philadelphia for 12 years; member faculty of La Salle College; Member of the Seventy-fourth, Seventy-fifth, and Seventy-sixth Congresses. Died March 12, 1939.

CLARENCE WYLY TURNER, Sixth Congressional District of Tennessee: Lawyer; editor; elected to State senate of Tennessee 1900, 1909, and 1911; delegate to the Democratic National Conventions of 1920 and 1932; mayor and city attorney, Waverly, Tenn.; county Judge, Humphreys County, 1920-33; Member of the Sixty-seventh, Seventy-third, Seventy-fourth, Seventy-fifth, and Seventy-sixth Congresses. Died March 23, 1939.

Mrs. NORTON, a Representative from the State of New Jersey, standing in front of the Speaker's rostrum, placed a memorial rose in a vase as the name of each deceased Member was read by the Clerk.

Then followed 1 minute of devotional silence.
The Temple Quartette sang “Rest in Peace,” by Schubert.

Hon. THOMAS A. JENKINS, a Representative from the State of Ohio, delivered the following address:

ADDRESS OF HON. THOMAS A. JENKINS

Mr. JENKINS of Ohio. Mr. Speaker and friends, the sorrow that we have for our dead is one sorrow from which the heart refuses to seek surcease. It is the only sorrow that we refuse to forget. Every other wound we seek to heal, but somehow we feel it our duty to keep this wound open. We sometimes cherish our sorrow for our dead so that we may brood over it in solitude. Our sorrow for our dead is measured exactly by our love for them.

Who hath not learned, in hours of faith,

The truth to flesh and sense unknown,
That life is ever lord of death,

And love can never lose its own!

When we first get the sad news that one of our own has gone from us we feel an overwhelming burst of grief, but time, the great healer, slowly and surely calms this into a tender recollection. A gentle tear is then our only outward manifestation. The convulsive agony that first consumed us gradually softens into pensive meditation from which we derive much solace. And among the beautiful pictures that hang on memory's wall the picture of one we loved the most will seem the best of all.

We may laugh with our gay friends, we may meet with them around the festal board, we may listen intently to their songs and chronicles, but there is a remembrance of the dead to which we turn even from the charms of the living. We are always keyed to hear the voice which even the tomb cannot stifle.

There is a scene where spirits blend,

Where friend holds fellowship with friend. A genuine show of reverence for the dead is a mark of culture in any individual. A nation's standard of civilization is accurately tested by the customs of the people as they show or fail to show proper respect for their dead. Veneration for the tomb and reverence for their dead was characteristic of the strong nations of earliest history. This simple inclination of these unlettered ancients to keep fresh the memories of their dead is unmistakable proof that the natural instincts of man cry out for the eternal companionship of those he loves.

In all generations nations have erected monuments as proof of their love and affection for their honored dead. No nation has surpassed us in this respect. All over our land a thankful people have recorded the virtues of their forefathers in literature, in art, in song, and in enduring bronze and granite. The choicest treasure of an individual who has lived right is his memory of his life's experiences—"A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches.” The greatest wealth of any nation is its national memories. When Greece was richest in treasures her greatest treasure was her culture. When Rome ruled the world her richest treasure was that which held her empire together-law and government. The national memories of our country are richer than our mines of gold, our fields of corn, or our cattle on a thousand hills. Our national memories are more ennobling than our great cities filled with the treasures of art and the trophies of war. In these days of wars and rumors of war our national memories which inspire our patriotism are a safer defense for the Republic than our strong efficient armies or our swift, magnificent navies.

So today we are deeply conscious that we have assembled to pay our tribute of love and respect to our deceased colleagues, of whom we could say that they were

Tall men, sun-crowned, who live above the fog

In public duty, and in private thinking. That they were

Men whom the lust of office does not kill;

Men whom the spoils of office cannot buy;
Men who possess opinions and a will;

Men who have honor, men who will not lie. We meet from a genuine and generous impulse of our hearts to testify to their worth and to say to their relatives that we mingle our tears with theirs for we, too, love our departed brethren and shall forever cherish their memory. Their greatest and most enduring monuments will be seen in the greatness of the Republic which they served so well. It is a glorious death to die in the service of one's country. It is not important what one gets or what one has as compared to what one gives. These men gave of their time and their talents to their fullest capacity.

Carve your name high over shifting sand,

Where the steadfast rocks defy decay-
All you can hold in your cold, dead hand

Is what you have given away.

Build your pyramid skyward, and stand,

Gazed at by millions, cultured they say-
All you can hold in your cold, dead hand

Is what you have given away.
Count your wide conquests of sea and land,

Heap up the gold, and hoard as you may-
All you can hold in your cold, dead hand

Is what you have given away. The loss of these, our beloved colleagues, causes a wide gap in our public councils, of which we are deeply sensible. To the States which they represented and to the people of the sections of the country with which they were identified, no tongue of a stranger may venture to attempt words of adequate consolation. But let us heed the voice which comes to us all, both as individuals and as public officials, and in the solemn and signal province of God let us remember that our duty to the Republic next to our duty to God is our greatest obligation. Let us reflect how vain are the personal strifes and partisan contests in which we daily engage, in view of the great account which we soon may be called to render. Our opportunity to serve humanity is great and our responsibility to assume it humbly and discharge it nobly is commensurately great.

Our association with these our distinguished dead was a rare privilege. All of them, no doubt, came from wholesome environment. Their courage and ambition carried them through the public schools, the academies, colleges or universities as their funds would warrant. They boldly breasted the currents of life strengthening themselves by daring to swim against all currents that threatened to carry them into easy or useless activities. One must have a fair measure of courage and have confidence in his own worth and ability, when he asks an intelligent American constituency to elect him as their representative to the greatest legislative body in the world. When once honored with membership in this great body; once having sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic,

[ocr errors]

theirs was the duty to see to it that constitutional Government should be maintained and that the torch of equal justice should always be kept burning bright so as to lead those in authority to do justly and walk uprightly, to their own honor and to the welfare of the people and to the glory of the Republic. So nobly did they discharge their duties that they left no stain upon the escutcheon of the Republic. Alongside their irreproachable conduct, we lay the full measure of our love, our confidence, and our respect. While we held our departed brethren in the highest esteem as we served with them, our measurement of their stature might be dwarfed somewhat by the nearness of the perspective. Now that they are gone our appraisal could probably be better expressed in these words:

A prince once said of a king struck down:

"Taller he seems in death."
And the word holds good, for now, as then,

It is after death that we measure men.

The greatest measure of devotion that any man can show for his country is to die for it on the field of battle. I am sure that our departed brethren whom we strive to honor today would approve a reference by me at this time to the fact that this day is our national holiday known as Memorial Day. Today, from shore to shore, in every city, village, and hamlet, and at every countryside the people are gathered in tribute to their beloved dead. Soon after the close of the great conflict that threatened the existence of the Union there was published a poem inspired by the magnanimity of a group of women who strewed flowers alike on the graves of the Union dead as on the graves of their own Confederate dead. This little poem, the Blue and the Gray, with other contributing features, so moved the sympathy of the Nation that Decoration Day or Memorial Day came to be a national holiday. At first Decoration Day was largely a day for paying tribute to those who had died on the field of battle by decorating their graves, but it has now rown to universal

« EelmineJätka »