Billeder på siden

talent the American bar has been able to produce. That of itself is a magnificent encomium, indeed.

As has already been said, he had a deep reverence for the Constitution of the United States and deep convictions as to the imperative necessity of maintaining and retaining a government of checks and balances. He always respected the views of other persons.

WILLIS SMITH Occupied many important positions. He had about him a deep and sincere sense of humility. I think the word “humility” characterizes WILLIS SMITH when he was with us in the flesh better than does any other word. Despite all the honors which had been conferred upon him, he was a humble follower of the great principles of life. He was a hard worker, conscientious, devoted, and willing to take on any task. He was a team player who worked well with his colleagues on both sides of the aisle, because he did not take a partisan viewpoint on great issues of our times; he took an American viewpoint.

Mr. President, while he has gone on, he has embarked on the journey we all must take at some time. The memory of his comradeship, his fine ability, his intelligence, will remain with us. We know that the message he has left with us is to carry on.

So, Mr. President, we say hail and farewell, WILLIS SMITH, thou good and faithful servant of thy country.

Mr. BYRD. Mr. President, WILLIS SMITH was born a Virginian, at Norfolk, and Virginians mourn his loss with profound sorrow.

He lived in North Carolina, at Raleigh, and Virginia extends her sympathy to her neighbor.

He died in the Capital in the service of his Nation, for which he believed there is great destiny. This belief he once expressed in these words:

We may say for our country:
I do not know beneath what sky

Nor on what seas will be thy fate;
I only know it shall be high;

I only know it shall be great.

America has suffered a great loss in his passing. Few men, in so short a time in the Senate of the United States, have established the reputation for great ability and supreme character which WILLIS SMITH enjoyed among his colleagues who, working with him, quickly came to know him in his true splendor.

Although he was known most widely among those of his profession for his great contributions in the field of jurisprudence, the leadership of Senator SMITH was versatile. He rose to the presidency of the American Bar Association, but likewise his direction was sought in the fields of business, insurance, education, public welfare, and State and National Government.

He was a legislator whose service in the North Carolina Legislature, where he rose to the office of. speaker of the house as well as in the senate, was characterized by the rare combination of ability for scholarly approach, masterly analysis, effective action, and for distinction between dispute and distrust.

He was a faithful husband and father in a family who, in this hour of bereavement, may find comfort in the knowledge that to know him was to love him, and that he will always live in the hearts of those who knew and loved him.

He was a lawyer who believed that justice was the “practice of dealing uprightly and equitably with others," and he exhorted those of his profession to fight for justice under the law, to help save mankind from its own destruction, to inculcate in the hearts and minds of men the spirit of justice, and to answer affirmatively that searching query, "Am I my brother's keeper?"

In law and government he adhered steadfastly to fundamental protection of the rights of men against the caprices of rulers.

Always recurring to the fundamentals of Christianity, the law, and orderly government, he lived in the hope, to which he directed his efforts, that out of the tragedy of wars would come "some system of a rule of law that will shackle, if not destroy, the despots and protagonists of force; that will tend to produce stability and peace on earth.”

This cardinal hope of his life was realistically summed up in his closing speech as president of the American Bar Associtation, when he said:

I have no illusion about the difficulties ahead. There are always those who desire no law that will curb their own activities; who prefer their own way to the composite judgment of many; who know how to play upon the cupidity and emotions of the common man who always suffers most in every struggle.

There are still some who make a profit out of war, or so they think; not merely financial profits, but a realization of their aims to conquer and rule by force. In a world of human frailties, of suspicion and distrust, we can only hope for a slow process of development that may some day attain the desired results.

The story of a man's life is never completely told by the offices he holds, or the honors he receives. It is only partially told by the things he does in the public view.

Perhaps there is nothing so revealing of a man's beliefs, his loyalties, his convictions, and his hopes as the intimacy of association in the Senate of the United States. We know that WILLIS SMITH'S great purpose in life was to help "give the people of the earth, who love life and joy, something of that protection of law that will yield other than a mere thanatopsis.”

There is a special immortality about the kindly service and the humble ministration which characterized the words and deeds of WILLIS SMITH. In him there was no hatred, no greed, no ignobility, no base contempt of sect or creed. He was a man consecrated to noble virtues for which he worked with ceaseless zeal, and with dignity, simplicity, and integrity.

He was a man who served his Nation and his generation in the Armed Forces of his country, in the profession of his calling, in the State of his residence, and in the legislative branch of his National Governmentall with the distinction of a man with high principles and patriotic devotion. The measure of his greatness was a frank honesty always tempered with a willingness to listen to the views of others.

WILLIS SMITH was my devoted friend and I was his. I shall treasure his memory as long as I live. We are told that we are the composite of all we have met. If that is true, I am a better American for having known WILLIS SMITH.

If the strength of this Nation lies in the men it breeds, America is greater for the faith and character of such men as Senator SMITH. His was a life and service for the emulation of all who follow him.

[ocr errors]

Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. President, it was partially because we shared the same name that Mrs. Smith and I felt very close to Senator and Mrs. WILLIS SMITH. We were together at the Wardman Park Hotel. I saw the Senator almost daily, going out or coming in, and I felt a sense of intimacy with him.

I wish to pay tribute to a man whom I esteemed as a valiant and courageous colleague; one whose high principles committed him to great service for his country; a man who drove himself beyond his physical endurance and whose untimely death has brought sincere grief and regret to his friends. Death is simply the cessation of life on this planet, and Senator SMITH, as a member of a Christian church, would have told us that it is not the end.

For all too brief a period WILLIS SMITH Occupied a prominent place in this body. A native of Norfolk, Va., he early showed his mettle by working his way through college, at the same time becoming top man of his class, as well as an outstanding athlete. As one who has had no inconsiderable experience in the exacting little world of the campus, I may observe that when a lad displays such qualities during the formative years, you watch him. It is one of the most rewarding experiences of life to behold the youth of promise emerge into the an of fulfillment.

As one glances over the bare facts of WILLIS SMITH'S career, even the necessarily brief summaries in the usual books of reference make up a formidable record. A lawyer, a soldier, a legislator, an official representative of his Government in an international organization, a recognized authority in the field of taxation, an authority on judicial procedure, a director of great industrial and insurance corporations, an outstanding member of bar associations, State, national, and international; finally, a Senator of the United States representing a State he had long conspicuously served—all these make a career, a page of achievement, of which Americans can be proud, regardless of political affiliation.

Now, at the age of 65, he is removed from the world by death. One may say of WILLIS SMITH that he shortened his life to lengthen his influence. While overtaxing his physical capacities, he stood up for what he believed in rather than succumb to pressures or principles to which he was personally opposed.

A man of infinite integrity, WILLIS SMITH courageously sacrificed himself to serve his country. We, his friends and colleagues, can assure the people of the great State he so ably and faithfully served of our long remembrance and esteem for one who dwelt all too briefly with us.

To his beloved wife and family my wife and I tender our deepest sympathies.

Mr. STENNIS. Mr. President, I wish to subscribe to the very fine tributes to the life, character, and public service of our late friend and colleague, WILLIS SMITH, of North Carolina, who possessed many fine virtues. I shall mention briefly an outstanding quality I saw in him, and I think any words concerning him ought to begin and end with emphasis on this quality.

WILLIS SMITH was primarily a man of character, a man to whom principles meant something. He was truly a servant of the people. In carrying out the will of his people, their

« ForrigeFortsæt »