Poignant words from Sen. Mike Mansfield

2013-11-22T00:00:00Z Poignant words from Sen. Mike Mansfield Arizona Daily Star
November 22, 2013 12:00 am

Editor’s note from the Star, Nov. 26, 1963: Probably the most remarkable utterance during the rites for President Kennedy held in the Capitol Rotunda were those of Sen. Mike Mansfield, (D-Mont., who died in 2001), who spoke first on Sunday (Nov. 24, 1963). Here is the speech in full.

There was a sound of laughter; in a moment, it was no more. And, so, she took a ring from her finger and placed it in his hand.

There was a wit in a man neither young nor old; but a wit full of an old man’s wisdom and of a child’s wisdom, and, then, in a moment, it was no more. And, so, she took a ring from her finger and placed it in his hand.

There was a man marked with the scars of his love of country, a body active with the surge of a life far, far from spent and, in a moment, it was no more. And, so, she took a ring from her finger and placed it in his hand.

There was a father with a little boy, a little girl and a joy of each in the other. In a moment, it was no more. And, so, she took a ring from her finger and placed it in his hand.

There was a husband who asked much and gave much, and, out of the giving and the asking, wove with a woman what could not be broken in life, and, in a moment, it was no more. And, so, she took a ring from her finger and placed it in his hand.

A piece of each of us died at that moment. Yet, in death he gave of himself to us. He gave us of a good heart from which the laughter came. He gave us of a profound wit, from which a great leadership emerged. He gave us a kindness and a strength fused into a human courage to seek peace without fear.

He gave us of his love that we, too, in turn might give. He gave that we might give of ourselves, what we might give to one another until there would be no room, no room at all, for the bigotry, the hatred, prejudice and the arrogance which converged in that moment of horror to strike him down.

In leaving us — these gifts, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, President of the United States, leaves with us. Will we take them, Mr. President? Will we have, now, the sense and the responsibility and the courage to take them? I pray to God that we shall and under God we will.”

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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