Skip to main content

tv   U.S. Capitol Historical Society Freedom Award  CSPAN  May 28, 2016 3:05pm-4:01pm EDT

3:05 pm
it does suggest that dealing with some of this information was very challenging for members of the committee and their staff, because they wanted to present the material to the american public, to help them understand these egregious abuses, and they wanted to do it in a way that respected the individuals who had been under surveillance, and that is a -- that is a difficult thing to do. >> kate scott, thank you very much. dr. scott: thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] coming up next, popular and historian david mccullough receives the u.s. capitol historical society freedom award . this event took place in statuary hall of the u.s. capitol and runs about one hour. mr. coleman: good evening, it is in german. i am the chairman of the board of the u.s. capital historical society and a former member from the state of missouri, and i'm
3:06 pm
filling in for ron, who is our president, not feeling well. we will miss him, but we will soldier on in his absence. welcome to statutory all, and the 2016 presentation of our freedom award. we have been doing this since 1993, recognizing individuals, as well as organizations who have broadened our understanding and deepened our appreciation for freedom. tonight, we are privileged to honor david mccullough, who is a remarkably rich and varied body of work has brought the american story to vivid life. with an inquisitive mind and an ever active royal typewriter, and authoritative but pleasant voice that sounds like it comes from the outer reaches of the cosmos -- [laughter] mr. coleman: david mccullough has expressed an extraordinary
3:07 pm
-- shift our histories, and therefore our present. at this point, we do have -- this is right on cue -- we have several people here tonight from the leadership. kevin mccarthy, the majority leader, has just walked in. kevin, come on out. this is your introduction. [laughter] mr. coleman, to say a few words of -- coleman: to say for -- few words of congratulations. thank you very much for having me. first, let me thank everyone for being here this he, and i especially want to thank -- evening, and i especially want to thank the u.s. capital historical society. americans have a long history of looking to the future.
3:08 pm
to be american is to make the known,r first new, then and then familiar. an unfortunate side effect is to forget. it is not the basic facts would forget. we can always look up when the first session of congress was, or the orders of the president, or when the wright brothers overcame every doubt, and flew. what we forget is to wonder. we can fly. power is transferred peacefully here. the people do rule. these are exceptions in history, which make them all the more powerful. only --david mccullough does not only report the facts, he makes us wonder at our history. his ability to make history alive and compelling is reason
3:09 pm
enough for david to win awards, but why the freedom award? because freedom is something else we've gotten used to. we know of freedom of the press, freedom to worship, freedom to govern ourselves. we see the practiced everyday, and when our freedom becomes normal, we forget the sacrifices of time, of security, and, more sofoundly, of life, made that we can be free and keep our freedom. we forget that exercising our freedom can be frustrating and slow. now, we are in congress, and there are a few places that few places more frustrating or slower -- there are few places more frustrating or slower in a will. the legislative process whenever gain as many viewers as, say, " game of thrones," but it is freedom at work, self-governance
3:10 pm
at work, and david mccullough urges us, uses his words to be amazed. in 1989, speaking to a joint session of congress, he called on people to take pride in self-government, and speak to, and i quote, "to the great victories that have been one in congress. the decisions and victories achieved, the men and women of high purpose and integrity that observed here. confusing. messy and so is self-government, but freedom should astound us, america should astound us, and heck, i believe even congress should astound us. of freedommissionary because he inspires a love of american history, and america's history is rooted in freedom. i congratulate you on this award, not only for helping us to never, but helping us to love
3:11 pm
our country, and the people and institutions that kept us free. thank you. [applause] mr. coleman: kevin wants to go down in the history books. there are some special guests -- the first and foremost is rosalie barnes mccullough, the wife of david for 52 years, and his confidant, as i understand, since the teenage years, and if you're anything like my work, you are probably his best internet as well. would you please -- editor as well. would you please, along with your four children and three grandchildren, stand and be recognized. [applause]
3:12 pm
coleman: in addition, we have members of congress both from the house and senate tonight, as well as former members, and other folks that are in the historical area of teaching, and we recognize the importance, and we welcome all of you as well. at this point, i am going to introduce danger to him, who is david's colleague and longtime friend to introduce david for his award. dan?have dan -- where is as he comes up, i'm going to .ntroduce dan he directed the nonprofit thomas jefferson foundation for 23 years and was a scholar in residence at the university of virginia. dan is the author of several books and nearly 100 published works. he has appeared in many television productions including "thomas jefferson."
3:13 pm
i had the pleasure of working with dan, interviewing students area stream and foundation scholarship, where i saw and what is fair handedness and compassion for young people. thank you. i'm so happy you are here to introduce your former colleague. dan: thank you, tom, for those kind words. ladies and gentlemen, listing was to guess, my wife and i are honored to be here for this special program and presentation. in the spirit of full disclosure, i spoke with david about my introduction. his counsel was unequivocal. namely, the more exaggeration, the better. [laughter] dan: i am sure everyone in this
3:14 pm
magnificent room knows that david mccullough is truly america's historian. written he has important books on important subjects. haves written books that i one major awards. he has written books that have been bestsellers. he has written books without exception, that stay in print. know that hisbly magnificent biography of john adams became the basis of a highly acclaimed hbo miniseries. 23 anyived a record nominations. -- any nominations. and it garnered the record awards.f 13 emmy
3:15 pm
no one else has even been close. so, you know that david has hosted, and he has narrated, along with special television programs on pbs, and otherwise. some of you know: -- that occasionally he narrates feature films like "seabiscuit." most of you also know that there is no finer speaker about american history than david mccullough. taking this extraordinary venue itself, david has addressed a joint session of congress. during the bicentennial of the capital, he was the featured speaker as the freedom statue ascended to her perch on the
3:16 pm
dome. and not far from this magnificent building, david as spoken multiple times at 1600 pennsylvania avenue. know thatome of you david is a proud son of pittsburgh, and some of you know that he is a true, blue alumnus yale, class of 1959 -- 1955. well, that is in german, that is quite a list of accomplishments. it is quite extraordinary, but you while -- well, ladies and gentlemen, it is quite a list of accomplishments. it is quite extraordinary, but you have probably heard it all before.
3:17 pm
i would like to share with you 10 things -- with apologies to david letterman -- 10 things you might not know about david mccullough. number 10 -- [laughter] mr. jordan: we're going to work down. number 10, he never writes a book on a subject he knows. he writes to learn. number nine, you might not know that some people have called david a rock star, and that his good friend tom hanks has called him, in public, and with women and children in the audience, has called him "an american sex symbol." [laughter] number eight, you might not know that david insists about -- on writing about history where it was made. for john adams, he wanted to
3:18 pm
climb and ancient staircase in an historic church in philadelphia, pennsylvania, literally following in the footsteps of john adams. words emphasize the two "fences -- ancient staircase." think about our man ascending steps, until he entered the bell tower, and tried to imagine what john adams would have seen. 1776, he cameaph up with the creative idea of reenacting george washington's crossing of the ic delaware river, and he actually had a couple of takers to serve on his crew, and one was the artist andrew weiss. and the other was yours truly. er headsely calm
3:19 pm
prevailed. thank god. number seven, you might not know that david is truly a gifted painter, especially with watercolors. you might not know that david was an extra in one of the very congress movies about -- "advise and consent." if you catch a rerun, look for the handsome young reporter on press row. -- handsome, young reporter on press row. number five, you might not know that david has been a tireless champion of saving the hallowed grounds of our historic sites. proposedk to disney's
3:20 pm
theme park near the manassas battlefield. ,avid was a victorious warrior dick moe, who was supposed to be here, but was not. and other heroes that save that hollowed ground. number four, david has been equally tireless in his fight against historical illiteracy, especially among young americans careow less and less, and less and less about our nation's history. number three, you might not know that david has a beautiful singone voice, and can melodically and in key, almost any tune from a major broadway musical. [laughter]
3:21 pm
mr. jordan: and on the rhythm sheme, he can dance the sock anyone injust about this audience, with rosalie may be the exception. cook, too,y good especially if he is using his own recipe for spaghetti. number two, you might not know that david mccullough is a devoted family man, and is here with his partner of over 50 years, and rosalie has been introduced. she is the chairman of the board. she keeps track of their five, spouses, andtheir a total of 19 grandchildren. thingy, the number one that you might not know about him, is that it would be
3:22 pm
impossible -- impossible to have a friend who is more loyal were more generous than david mccullough. [applause] jobcoleman: dan, excellent -- mr. jordan: thank you very much. [applause] mr. coleman: david, it is my pleasure to present to you the 20 16th u.s. capitol historical society. twoinscription award -- with unmatchedh,
3:23 pm
voice and vibrancy, you have enhanced our understanding of the lives and times of the extraordinary people who have shaped our nation. in so doing, you inspire the informed citizenship that is the foundation of true freedom. congratulations. can we get a photo here, everybody? [applause] told vanlough: i jordan to field -- dan jordan to
3:24 pm
feel free to exaggerate, and i'm so glad i did. [laughter] mr. mccullough: dan, thank you so much. ladies and gentlemen, distinct members of congress, and other eminent men and women who are am, this evening, i theless to say, swept off and myth this occasion feelings of very everlasting gratitude. greater, thely be award in my view, -- this , in my view, and i think the capital historical society from the heart. i think, too, the many friends and family, many of whom are with us this evening, and to have been such an immense help to me in my work, now for more
3:25 pm
than 50 years. so, here we are in the capital of the united states of america on capitol hill, the acropolis of our nation. it is a building like no other highestand, wherein the aspirations of a free and open society have been written into law generation after generation -- where time and again, brave, elegant words have changed history, and the best, and some of the worst of human motivations have been plainly on display. this magnificent structure has been called the temple of liberty, the spirit of america written in stone -- a mighty --ine, and in ogling strine and enabling shrine, a city in itself. thomas jefferson call it the great commanding theater of our
3:26 pm
nation. it may also be said that within these walls, there is an abundance of stories and such to be found in no other one structure in all of our country. some have likened congress to an ever flowing river, the context of which -- content of which keeps steadily changing. from the time congress first took up business here on the 11,000 1800, more than men and women have come and gone as members of the house and senate. number 535,members but the continuing population of the city unto itself is greater by far. there are a total of 1800 capitol hill police serving. hundred more engineers look after electricity, plumbing, and fire protection. snother small army of worker
3:27 pm
maintains the ground -- barbers, chefs, waiters, waitresses, and congressional staff members are also part of the workforce within this building. then there are the 65 tour guides that serve a steady flow of visitors numbering 3 million to 5 million a year, men, women, schoolchildren by the thousands from all parts of the country and the world. here first asoot a high school student all the way from pittsburgh. i was 15. it is fitting that we do justice to the past and we travel to see where our history happened, to the birthplaces and homes of our notables, to independence hall, data fields, and legendary river crossings, but think about the volume, strange, and he meant consequences of so much that has taken place at this one site.
3:28 pm
the passing of the 14th amendment, for example, or the declarations of two world wars, or approval of the marshall plan and building an interstate highway system like no other honors. it was here during the great depression that franklin roosevelt said you can we have to fear is fear itself. here, in an inaugural address to become known the world over, usre john f. kennedy asked not what the world can do for you, but what the world -- what youran do -- not what country can do for you, but what you're -- you can do for your country. endless days consumed with matters on barely -- unbearably dull. foolve the power to do any thing we want to do, and we seem
3:29 pm
to do it every 10 minutes, one centered, william fulbright, commented half a century ago. now we are conducting -- dealing with the disgraceful dialing for dollars. but history is human. history is composed of the bad much thatod, as so has taken place here so amply illustrates. there was that day on the senate floor in 1856 one political anger turned into manic rage and a south carolina collison, congressman,s, -- preston brooks, attacked with a heavy cane and nearly clubbed to death the outspoken abolitionist, the senator from massachusetts. there was a day in 1950 where a freshman senator from maine had the to stand and challenge senator joseph
3:30 pm
mccarthy as no one yet had, saying those that shouted loudest about americanism all too frequently ignored the principles of americanism as a right to criticize, hold unpopular beliefs, the right to protest, the right of independent thought. her, truman later said to mrs. smith, your declaration of conscious was one of the finest things that has happened here in washington in all my years in the senate and in the white house. toohould be appreciated, there is here, and rightfully, there is an enduring pride of serving one's country to good effect in this political institution. itbara jordan once put
3:31 pm
probably -- i am neither a black politician, nor a woman politician. just a politician. a professional politician. my friend, senator patrick leahy of vermont, while standing outside of the capital on nine--- 9/11, said lord, let us get back in there. we had to say to our american people, we were here, including our loyal and brave staff. we have an old expression about those that have departed the scene -- gone but not forgotten. it is my feeling that if not forgotten, they are not gone. think of those that have passed through these very doors. think of the turning points in our history's -- history that have taken place here, right ine, but we are gathered statuary hall, the old house of representatives. it was here that james madison, james monroe, john quincy adams,
3:32 pm
andrew jackson, and millard fillmore were all inaugurated -- inaugurated president. here that a foreign citizen first addressed congress for the first time. this is historic ground, if ever there was here, right here. here, congress established the smithsonian institution and voted for war on mexico, it is strongly opposed by many, including the congressman from illinois, abraham lincoln. here by act of congress, eight states became part of the union -- alabama, missouri, arkansas, michigan, florida, texas, --consin, and california states that in area nearly doubled the size of the country. acoustics in the hall were erratic, mainly terrible. from certain locations on the 41
3:33 pm
could hear what was being said, even whispered on the far side of the room. at the same time, it possible to hear what was being said from the podium. there are old tales of ghostly footsteps echoing here in the night. according to one story, a capitol policeman entered the hall on a new year's eve to find all of the statues dancing. [laughter] one of the most moving moments in our country's story took place just over there. a breastplate marks the spot on the floor -- brass plate marks the spot on the four. in 1841 -- in 1841 committed 63, considered quite old at the time, a newly elected member of the house, john quincy adams took his seat. hisears earlier, in 1800, father, president john adams, had addressed congress when it
3:34 pm
convened for the first time in the still unfinished -- unfinished capital. john quincy had been an investor several times, a senator, secretary of state, and president. returned to the same setting where he had been inaugurated president to serve as a mere freshman congressman. it was something no president had ever done, and as he wrote in his diary, no election or appointment had ever conferred on him such pleasure, including the presidency. he was short, portly, and bold. a bit drab in dress. not very impressive in appearance, but he still left little doubt as to where he stood on issues. he was determined, and he was incorruptible. he was also one of the few members of the house whose voice could be plainly heard from the podium, acoustical problems notwithstanding.
3:35 pm
congressmanote joshua giddings of ohio belongs to no local district, no political party, but to the nation and to the people. greathad great love, reference for the house of representatives. he loved the theater of his proceedings. he loved, as he wrote, these echoing pillars of the great hall. s knows -- theh calls of intonation and voices, the tone of the speaker in accounts ofhe vote, the members. he served here for 17 years, rarely missing even an hour when the house was in session. he worked fervently to establish the smithsonian, oppose the war
3:36 pm
with mexico with unfailing tenacity, and spoke with the eloquence scarcely equaled then or since. old man eloquent, he was called. and he battled, as did no one else, to abolish the so-called gag rule, which kept congress from interfering with slavery in the state -- slave states. indeed, he was the most ardent and faithful anti-slavers -- slavery member of the house of representatives right here. some nights, he returned to his street, sohome on f exhausted that he can barely get up the stairs. there were threats on his life -- serious threats, but tenacity theurpose burned in him to end. on the afternoon of february 21, 1848, john quincy adams collapsed here at his desk.
3:37 pm
the brass plate marks the place. he was carried to the speaker's office over there, the white door. o stricken tond to be moved. he died there two days later at age 80. he had died in harness, as they said then. stateruary 26, he lay in here. the room packed with immense crowd, including members of both houses, the supreme court, and president polk. we have never witnessed a moral gust spectacle, wrote one washington newspaper. in point of character, as a man as a politician, none of the public men in washington, said "the new york killed, "are as up , are asew york herald
3:38 pm
approachable as mr. adams was. little of conflict -- of consequence is ever accomplished alone. high achievement is almost always a joint effort, as has been shown again and again in these halls when peters of the different parties, representatives from different constituencies and different points of view have been able, for the good of the country, to put differences aside and work together. i witnessed this first hand in 1978 during the senate debate over the panama canal treaty -- a measure strongly favored by the carter administration. my book on the canal -- "the path between the seas" the results of six years of research and writing, had been published in the year before. as convinced as i was at the treaty was much the wisest course for our country and for
3:39 pm
panama, i volunteered as an independent advocate for the treaty, and was on hand here on the hill through several months. at times, i had the pleasure of hearing my book quoted on the senate floor, and by those taking opposite positions, but itit often is with history, served to validate all kinds of opinions. in the course of the debate i saw individual republicans and democrats alike change the point of view, and i saw that both sides were trying to make what they felt was the right choice. i witnessed no animosity, no enmity. it was only when a number of republicans and senator howard baker of tennessee in particular saw the treaty is the right course and made it a joint effort that the treaty passed. years, ithe past 38
3:40 pm
has proven to have been the right decision. the second lesson to be found here is that history is about far more than politics and war only. that is most expressive of american life american aspirations and american contributions to the human spirit are to be found in the arts -- architecture, paintings, sculpture, and engineering genius. builders at are heart, and in what we build, we often show ourselves that our very best. you have only to look around at some much to be seen in this great building. in view of the current political climate, let me point out, too, how much of what we see throughout the building was the work of immigrants. william thorton, a physician, who won a design competition for the capital in 1792, was a
3:41 pm
native of tour told in the british west indies. benjamin having the tro, the first professional architect to take charge of the design of the building, including this hall, was born and educated in england. whos holden, the architect restored the white house after it was burned by the british during the war of 1812, and do also worked on the capital, was from ireland. and williamson, the stonemason laying of the foundation of the capital was a scot. and there is the artist whose vibrant frescoes fill the uppermost regions of the great rotunda under the capitol dome, and whose decorative genius so brightens the corridors and hallways of the senate wing. a tiny figure who stood only remedy -- nonetheless andted monumental art,
3:42 pm
produced spirit here on a scale never seen before in our country. there was also the sculptor who , the museatue of cleo of history, over there, above the main door, keeping out of the history taking place. as you mighth come imagine, from italy, as were numerous members of the workforce -- skilled masons and stonecutters. it might also be added that our capital city, washington itself, was the design of an immigrant. the french engineer pierre l'enfant. and that the two famous, most fine movies ever made about congress, "mr. smith goes to washington," and advise and
3:43 pm
consent," were directed by immigrants. then, yes, there were african slaves who did much of the work in the capital. how many will never be known, but played a large part they did. the efforts of their labors on a very pillars that stand before us here. they cut the marble in the quarries. building and rebuilding the capital took more time and labor and patients than many might imagine. things went wrong. there were angry differences of opinion over matters of all kinds. there were accidents -- numerous injuries, and one dramatic, narrow escape. at work one day, on his frescoes in the upper reaches of the slippedme, constantino from his scaffold, and only managed to catch hold of a rung of the letter. for 15 minutes, he hung for dear
3:44 pm
life some 55 feet above the marble floor under the capital until the capitol policeman happened to glance up and rushed to the rescue. been athen 72, and had work in the capital for 26 years. the great dome famously took form through the years of the civil war and remains as intended the commanding focal point of our capital city. it is primarily the achievement of two exceptional americans -- architect thomas walter, and structural engineer montgomery megs. such a story -- each a store. started megs was all of 36 when he took challenginge most engineering assignments ever,
3:45 pm
and created what stands as a masterpiece of 19th century civil engineering with inner and waitingst-iron shelves nearly 9 million pounds. a great lover of the arts, and an artist himself, he also had much to do with the art that was to steal the building, including the part played by -- and the choice of the american sculptor, thomas crawford, to create the 19.5 foot high statue of freedom that would stand atop the dome. the gleaming1863, dome of our capital, the focal point of our capital city, and though there have been modifications and additions building in the years since, it remains essentially as it was then -- a symbol of freedom -- a structure be speaking more than any other.
3:46 pm
our history, our journey -- evoking an encouraging powerfully pride in our system, and, yes, patriotism. and now we are in the midst of another election season, which like so many before will determine much to follow. far more than we could possibly know. clock over there, above the 'sor, on the side of cleo chariot, is the work of a massachusetts clockmaker named simon willard. it has been doing its job at long time. 1837, 179talled in years ago. ticks onon still, --
3:47 pm
still, keeping perfect time. , too, isg is cleo attending to her role no less than ever, taking note of the history we are and we will be making. on we go. [applause] stay here.: [applause] mr. coleman: david mccullough does not disappoint. what a great speech, remarks -- whatever you want to call the presentation -- we all are indebted to david for bringing our history to life.
3:48 pm
john morrison, the congressman from the first district in connecticut, and the cochair of the historic caucus in the house is going to give a few mementos and a few comments to david following his remarks here. morrison: -- mr. morrison: thank you, tom, and as you pointed out, david mccullough does not disappoint. what an honor to be here, and amongst so many gathered who are dedicated to the history that exudes from this building. it pains me, as a member of the house of representatives, that we continue to walk through statuary hall. this is a place that should be for everything one of
3:49 pm
america's greatest historians has just so eloquently stated. should not ben relegated to a brass plate that people passed by, and i hope that the house of representatives, heating, along with the senate, the remarks and the eloquence of mr. david mccullough, will take that into consideration for future generation, so this eloquent room might be once again restored to its grantor. the capital, historical society has been passing out fellowships. those fellowships have led to the research and dedication, and history that is so rich here in this great building, and in this great country of ours.
3:50 pm
david, this evening, you made it , in honoring you through the donations of so many to uponfor us to expand that. it is my great honor, as is tradition in the house of representatives when we are honoring people, we fight a flag over the united states capital to commemorate their great achievement and a competent. -- accomplishment. you are, for history, and especially for american history, sot walter cronkite was for many americans in television. you are the most trusted voice in america. it is such an honor to be with you on this dais and present you this flag that was flown over the united states capital for your outstanding service to your nation that you so eloquently chronicled.
3:51 pm
sir.ccullough: thank you, [applause] mr. coleman: john, thank you very much. i failed to mention that john is on our board. we rotate republicans and democrats on to our board. we are the only bipartisan group on the hill [laughter] . mr. coleman: we hope to rectify that. i would like to introduce and ask to come forward, the democratic leader, nancy pelosi, who in her own right is an historical figure, being the first female speaker of the house of representatives, to say a few congratulatory remarks. [applause] thank you very much. one time i was honored getting
3:52 pm
an honorary degree, and so was david mccullough. you could just imagine how exciting it was to be honored at the same time he was, and you can imagine how horrible it was to have to follow him speaking on that occasion. and here we are again, david. how magnificent. i hope we can have that on the internet for everyone to listen and to learn. ron -- i know you are tom -- i'm talking to ron now -- one thing you taught us in the top 10 that we have in common with david mccullough, is when he is writing, we are all learning. thank you, tom, for the opportunity to say a few words here. the reason i wasn't here at the very beginning is because there is one other element to all of the personnel you beautifully honored in your remarks, and that is spouses we are welcoming
3:53 pm
this evening for the lunch with the first lady tomorrow. [applause] rep. pelosi: my husband paul is here. rosalie, i know you appreciate that recognition. tom, ron sarasin, the, for your leadership of historical society. i think this is the happiest day of john morrison's life to be here with david mccullough being honored, but this is not the first time. didn't give his history of the capital. when i was a brand-new congressman in 1989, david mccullough came to the house chamber -- to the house chamber -- to speak on the occasion of bicentennial anniversary. this is a unique an rare honor for someone to speak that is not
3:54 pm
a head of state. there he spoke to the gaze of history, is -- it's presence in these halls to the present day. he spoke in this room, this chamber, this handmade clock, and the statue of cleo, the muse of history. to take today, 27 years later -- no, more -- yeah, 27 years later, we have come together beneath her gaze. he spoke of the gaze of cleo here we have come together under thank you, cleo to david, to speaking -- for sticking to that muse so beautifully. we have been privileged to have david here when he helped celebrate returning the historic statue of freedom to the top of the capital, 1983, remember that, david? dow,were taking the statue and polished, or whatever they did, restored the statue of freedom, and there was a big occasion outside, and featured
3:55 pm
speaker that day for the return of the statue to the top of the capital, when david mccullough spoke. that was exciting, wasn't it david? you are excited that day. i remember. when they lifted her up, that was something remarkable. and he was here in 2008 with the cast of the hbo miniseries inspired by his book, "john adams." that was exciting -- tom hanks, all the rest of them, the stars of that miniseries. you people have done so much as you to advance america's appreciation of the great figures, events, and undertakings of our democracy. your words, with the cadence and voice, have brought millions of americans to a fuller understanding of our history. time and again you have shown us
3:56 pm
our heroes in their business, humility -- great people, great times striving to be worthy of their age. europe inspired countless americans to be deserving of history's gaze. just might say because you talk about future generations, for one of my staff people -- -- heconley -- he told me is a writer on my staff. he was so excited about the fact that you were coming, and i said that is wonderful, we all are. he said no, it is special for me. he is my inspiration since i was a little boy to be a writer, to be a writer. i hope you can meet him. too, so youale, have that in common. in his nobel laureate acceptance speech william faulkner spoke in this way about a writer's duty -- to help manage your by the lifting of his heart, by reminding him of the courage, honor, hope, pride, and
3:57 pm
and sacrifice, which have been the glory of the past. tonight, we honor someone that has fully realized that ideal. to his wife rosalie and the --ire mr. mccullough: mccullough family, thank you for sharing this national treasure with america. our 2016ations, freedom award recipient, david mccullough. thank you, david. mr. coleman: thank you. [applause] mr. coleman: in closing, let me say how important it is that as americans we understand and appreciate our common heritage. this is not always the case.
3:58 pm
the congressional district that i represent in northwest missouri included a small community of excelsior springs. it was in excelsior springs at the elms hotel, to be specific, on election night in november of 1948, to which president harry truman slipped away to avoid the press and the commotion associated with such a close election. as david tells the story in his award-winning book "truman," around 6:30 p.m., the president had a ham and cheese sandwich, and a glass of buttermilk. at 9:00 p.m., he went to bed, believing he had lost the election. onmidnight he awoke, turned the radio to his bed, and heard nbc declare "do we know when or." y the winner. he went back to sleep.
3:59 pm
later, a secret service agent told the late returns and put them over the top. he had won the election. a few years ago in interest of passing on this bit of history to my nephew, we drove to the elms hotel, which is now part of the sheridan chain, believing the hotel must have a small room to memorialize the small -- the event could we approached the front desk, where i inquired if we could see the room where harry truman learned he had been elected president. with no sign of embarrassment, the person behind the desk remodeledoh, when we the hotel, we made that room into a broom closet. well, the lesson is we never know when the occasion will arise when we will be called upon to do our part to preserve , so,ry and our heritage keep your eyes open. [laughter] mr. coleman: this evening was made special by contributions
4:00 pm
from the following -- the pharmaceutical company, co. bank, america -- airlines for america, bank of america, and home depot. we appreciate their generous support. to her for coming, ladies and gentlemen. we ask you to join the members of the board to our reception. good evening. [applause] [indiscernible chatter] watching american history tv all weekend, every weekend on c-span 3. to join the conversation like us on facebook at c-span history. >> next,


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on