Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

I was prevented by illness from attending the last services for our friend in Raleigh on last Sunday. I had intended to go with other members of the Committee on the Judiciary and his other friends and colleagues, in order, in that small and humble way, I might pay tribute to a man who shall forever live in my heart as a friend, and because of whose friendship my life has become richer. He was an inspiration to us all.

As many Senators have said today, WILLIS SMITH placed country above party and Christianity above country. His wife and my wife and I are devoted friends, as were he and I. Our families frequently saw each other.

I remember sitting next to him in the Committee on the Judiciary on the Monday preceding his death, and I recall that he told me that ever since he had been in the Senate he had felt tired and fatigued and had experienced a sense of frustration because there was so much to do, so much he wanted to do, and so little time in which to do it. He truly gave of himself without thought of self for the many years of his full life which were devoted to the public service and many worthy activities.

WILLIS SMITH was a man whose idealism encompassed the field of human endeavor. He attained the pinnacle of recognition in his profession as a president of the American Bar Association. As other Senators have said this morning, Mr. President, WILLIS SMITH was a lawyer's lawyer. He believed in the Constitution and in strict adherence not only to the letter but to the spirit of that great document. He believed in his God, and looked to his God for inspiration and for solace. He was a devoted husband and father. Our thoughts and deepest sympathy are with Mrs. Smith and our friend's family.

So this morning, Mr. President, my heart is very full as I try to find words to express my feeling and thought about our departed colleague. We know that these ceremonies today will serve for the rest of our lives to further emphasize our realization that we knew a man who in all respects represented the best of our American genius and was the embodiment of Christian precept and character. A man of compassion, humility, and warm humanity.

WILLIS SMITH lives forever by his deeds and in the annals of his State and our country.

Mr. CARLSON. Mr. President, I would not wish to let this opportunity pass without paying a very sincere but humble tribute to a personal friend of mine, whom I learned to know only within the past few years.

WILLIS SMITH and I were elected to the Senate on November 7, 1950. Both of us came here to fill unexpired terms. He was sworn in on November 27, and I had preceded him by a very few days. Therefore, it was only natural that we should feel that we were friends together because we entered the Senate together.

I did not have an opportunity to serve with him on committees, but I had the rare privilege of living, for the years we have been in Washington together, at the same apartment hotel. We learned to know each other, as we visited in the lobbies, as we met coming in and going out, and, of course, as we met on the floor of the Senate.

The greatest tribute I can pay to WILLIS SMITH is that he was a true gentleman. He met in every way the definition of a gentleman. He was considerate of others. He was kindly. He was a Christian gentleman. He was a man one loved to meet and to visit with. I need not say, Mr. President, that I shall miss him, as all of us will miss him.

It is true that life is uncertain and that we pass through this life but once. What we accomplish as we pass through this life will be remembered. I think it can truly be said of WILLIS SMITH that the world is a better place for his having passed this way.

To Mrs. Smith and the children, Mrs. Carlson and I extend our sincerest and deepest sympathy.

Mr. FERGUSON. Mr. President, WILLIS SMITH, Senator from North Carolina, came to the Senate but a short time ago. He had had very distinguished service as a lawyer and an able advocate in his State and in the United States. He had served as president of the American Bar Association, the highest office in that organization. He had rendered yeoman service for the bar.

On coming to the Senate, he was assigned to the Judiciary Committee, where his talents fitted him for service. There he was able to render notable service. As a member of that committee until the beginning of this year, I served with him on various subcommittees, as well as on the full committee. His experience and talents as a lawyer enabled him to render unusual service to the members of the committee and to all other Members of the Senate.

Our families became well acquainted. I traveled with WILLIS, on one occasion, to the Interparliamentary Union. He went there, as I did, as a delegate. His activities in the debates of the Interparliamentary Union distinguished him and marked him as an able representative of the Congress of the United States at that meeting.

On all occasions he had a fine quality sense of humor, which he would use in a most skillful way in helping to bring out the point he had in mind. We shall miss him very greatly as a debater on the floor of the Senate. The United States of America will miss his distinguished service and the aid he has given in connection with the enactment of legislation.

This morning I pay humble tribute to this great man and distinguished citizen of the United States and Member of the United States Senate.

Mr. GEORGE Mr. President, on occasions such as this every Member of this body must be deeply impressed with the deserved tributes which are paid to their former colleagues.

Great men, Mr. President, originate few things in life, after all. The really great men of this world are but the media through which the light shines. If one were disposed to doubt the divine origin of man, it is difficult to see how such a doubt could be entertained when, through the medium of a man, with whatever faults and weaknesses he may have and with whatever virtues he may have been graced, the light of divinity shines.

Senator WILLIS SMITH was a lawyer of distinction. It is unfortunately true that almost all professions tend to become channels beyond which the influence and life of the individual generally are unrecognized and unknown. That is not true in the case of WILLIS SMITH, because he always seemed to be deeply imbued with a sense of civic responsibility. As a trained lawyer, and a great lawyer, he had received the discipline which enabled him to be of particular service not only to his State, but also to the Nation and to the world.

I think Senator SMITH'S outstanding greatness is perhaps to be found in the concept which inspired Bobby Burns, when he said:

To make a happy fireside clime

To weans and wife,
That's the true pathos and sublime

Of human life.

But undoubtedly as a statesman WILLIS SMITH'S greatness was in his strong devotion to the institutions of his country, to the institutions of a free Nation and free land. Above most of his associates, even in the Senate of the United States, Senator WILLIS SMITH knew that our institutions were not of divine origin, strong as his faith in the divinity of all things good may have been. He knew and recognized that our political, economic, and social institutions were not made with the mountains, that they are not one with the deep. Men, not God, designed them; and men, not God, must maintain them.

WILLIS SMITH was devoted to the institutions and the principles that have made us a great people, and thus he himself became a trusted servant of the people—a servant, even as all great men are, since it is in becoming the least among all our fellow beings and in serving our fellow men that we find the greatest compensation in life.

It is singularly true of Senator SMITH that he was highly esteemed by all the Members of the Senate and by all who knew him. All held him in great respect; in him all had great confidence. They found in him no guile. He did not possess the cheap trickery which sometimes leads the best of men to think that there may be some virtue in false pretense.

WILLIS SMITH possessed those elements to which his colleagues and intimates in this body have today paid sincere tribute. He possessed the simplicity of character and the strong faith in his God, in his country, and in the institutions of his country, that gave him a place of distinction even in a body of distinguished men, who have tried to do their best, in all instances no doubt, to serve their day and generation well.

The great State of North Carolina has lost a truly great son; a loving and devoted wife and family have lost a great husband and father; the Senate of the United States, and the United States itself, have lost a great public servantgreat because of his simplicity of character, his strong devotion to duty, as WILLIS SMITH conceived his duty to be, and the service he rendered to his fellow men.

Mr. ROBERTSON. Mr. President, the junior Senator from Virginia does not feel that he can add anything worth while to the beautiful tributes that have been paid to our departed friend and colleague. The junior Senator from Virginia, however, would be false to all the promptings of his heart if on this occasion he did not say at least a word in tribute to the late Senator from North Carolina.

Mr. President, WILLIS SMITH was born in Norfolk, Va., only a few miles from the spot where in 1607 a little band of storm

« ForrigeFortsæt »