The Fort Dodge Messenger: June 2, 1903
President Roosevelt Visits Fort Dodge
Nation’s Chief Spend an Hour in the City and is Greeted by Thousands of enthusiastic People Who Had Come for Miles to Meet Him
Passing thru thousands of cheering people, who lined every foot of the route which he traveled, President Roosevelt made his long expected visit to Fort Dodge this morning. No man was ever given a more enthusiastic greeting than was tendered by Fort Dodge people to the nation’s president. It was “Roosevelt Day” in very truth. Stores and places of business were closed. Busy machinery all over the city was at rest, and the employes (sic) of all local business enterprises were set free to greet the president and to hear his address.
President Roosevelt and party spent just one hour in Fort Dodge, but it was a busy hour. The president was kept constantly on the move to fill the program which had been arrange for him, but the route was covered successfully. The president reached Fort Dodge at 11:25. At 12:25 he waived his hat in farewell from the rear platform of his outgoing train.
The arrangements for the day were perfect, and too much credit cannot be given to the committee which had the exercises in charge. There was no hitch at any point, and even the weather, altho not all that could be desired, was acceptable. Even if it had rained, the program would have been carried out as outlined, but it was a source of gratification to all loyal Fort Dodgers that even tho the skies were gray, the president was able to carry out his visit without the down pour of rain which had been so greatly feared.
Hundreds of people crowded every point of vantage about the Illinois Central station, when the president special drawn by a great engine, decked with hundreds of flags, with Engineer James Wheeler at the throttle pulled in from Denison, where the last stop had been made. The president was greeted by the members of the reception committee, who were on the platform and went at once to his carriage. The procession started as soon as the guests had taken their places in their carriages, marhing (sic) directly thru the depot to the park, and on over the route out lined. Everywhere it passed thru dense crowds of people, who crowded against the ropes which marked off the streets included in the line of march. The president was continully (sic) doffing his silk hat in answer to the cheers for “Teddy,” which rose all along the line.
All along Central Avenue the windows were crowded, and porches and every point which would command a view of the procession all thru the residence districts helds (sic) its throng of eager sight seers.
The president was driven first to the Lincoln school grounds, where the school children of the city were gathered by the hundreds to see him. The stop there was brief. In answer to the cries of welcome which arose to greet him, the president rose in his carriage, “I am very glad to have seen you,” he said, “and as I have six children of my own, I take particular interest in all that pertains to you.”
The president made his drive thru the residence districts of the city, unattended save by his body guard, dressed in khaki uniforms, and composed of W.T. Chantland, B.J. Price, Dan Rhodes and Frederic Larrabee.
On his return to the business portion of the city, he joined the remainder of the procession, which proceeded down Central avenue to the park where the speakers stand had been erected. President Roosevelt, and the distinguished visitors who had accompanied him, with the members of the reception committee took their seats on the platform. as the president mounted the steps he stopped for a kindly handshake and word with a veteran of the civil war, who was sitting there.
Without any delay, Senator J.P. Dolliver advanced to the edge of the platform and looking over the crowded thousands who filled the park said “My fellow citizens: it gives me great pleasure to introduce to you the President of the United States.”
President Roosevelt came forward, and was again forced to doff his hat in response to the enthusiastic cheers which greeted his appearance. His address was punctuated with ringing applause, as he touched upon some theme which brought an instant response from his thousands of eager listeners.
The president’s address, in full, was as follows:
“Senator Dolliver and you, my fellow Americans, men and women of Iowa:
“It is a great pleasure to have the chance of saying a word of greeting to you this morning. I have come from a trip to and fro across the continent, and I want to say that of all things the thing that has struck me most in that trip is the essential unity of our people. A good American is a good American anywhere in this land. (Applause.) And, gentleman, I don’t think that until one has traveled a little one get a real idea of how purely relative a matter the east and west is. I recollect in the old days when I lived in the cow country. (Applause and laughter) I had a cattle ranch myself and it was out west of here on the Little Missouri in North dakota, and at the end of one summer, one of the cow-hands came to me and said: ‘Boss, I’d like my time. I’m going to spend the winter in the far east.’ I said, ‘That’s all right. Whjat (sic) do you mean by far east, Norway or Nubia?’ and he answered, ‘Duluth.’ I found that I had gotten into the country where Duluth represented the eastermost (sic) verge of the horizon. (Laughter.)
“But now, seriously, I cannot say what a pleasure it has been to me to go from the Atlantic to the Pacific and find everywhere men and women to whom I could appeal in the name of the same ideals and who were responsive ever to that appeal, and we owe that especially to the men who in ’61, when Abraham Lincoln called, answered the call, and in greeting all our people I greet with the greatest pleasure those to whom we owe it that we now have a common country, that we now have a country thru which a president can travel to meet his countrymen. And these men, the men of ’61 fought not only by what they did, not only established the union, not only left us a heritage of honor forever, the deeds they did, but they left us the memory of how these deeds were done, the memory of the spirit in which they were done. They taught us for all time the two good lessons: The lesson of appreciating what is really important in life and the lesson of brotherhood. The lesson of appreciating what is really important in life – It is not important to have an easy time, it is, however, unimportant to try to lead a life of mere pleasure. It is vitally important to see what is worth doing and then to try to do it at any cost. (Applause.) And here today, as everywhere thruout this union, as in every meeting of Americans, you, the men of the Civil War are given the place of honor, forever and always, and your deeds shall live to be told by our children’s children on and on thru generation after generation as long as there shall be a country to have a recorded history on this continent. They shall be told. Why? Because in ’61 and the years following, you chose not the easy places, but the places that led across the stony slopes of greatness to the goal of triumph for the age and the nation. When Lincoln called, the easy thing was not to answer the call. You did not choose the life, you did not choose the life of comfort, you did not choose the life which was easy, you did not walk silently in earth’s soft places, you did not pay heed to your own material well being, on the contrary, the men of the Civil War abandoned for the time that they were in battle the hope of all material gain. The faces suffering by cold in winter nights, suffering by heat in summer days of the march, the knowledge, the practical experience of great fatigue, of hunger and thirst and the ever present chance of death in battle, death on the fever cots of the hospital, and they did all that gladly because they had in them the lofty things which go with generous souls; because they had in them the spirit that bade them distinguish between the things that are essential in life. It is unessential to have an easy time. It is vitally essential to do well your duty, to do well all things worth doing. That is the essential thing and these men had in them to see what was essential and to do the essential thing. That is one lesson they taught. The other one, the lesson of brotherhood. Brotherhood – the recognition of each man as a man, of seeing what is important in his character and disregarding the individual. To each one of you as you moved forward into the battle it made a good deal of difference whether the man on your right hand or on your left had the right stuff in him. That was the essential thing. You wanted to know that when he moved he would move the right way. That is what you wanted to know. It was absolutely of no consequence what the creed was in accordance with which he worshipped, his social position or his birth-place. You cared nothing whether he were a capitalist, or wage-earner merchant, farmer, lawyer, business man, what you wanted to know was whether when the crisis came he would stay put. (Laughter and applause.) That is what you wanted to know exactly.
“It is just so in civil life. (I wish there were more of me and I would turn all around.) I have just got one moment more now.
“I believe this country is going forward to rise to a pitch, not merely of power, but of high and true greatness, such as no other country has ever shown, because I believe that our average citizen now in peace has profited and will profit by the lessons taught in the Civil War by the men of ’61, and thatwe shall apply practically the two lessons of which I have spoken. That we show show as a nation that what we seek is not mere ease, not mere comfort, not mere material well being – important tho that well being is – but that we shall try to do in our lives individually and collectively as a nation the things worth doing and to do them well and finally that we shall retlize (sic – should be realize) so far as in human power it can be realized, the brotherhood in fact as well as in name and shall continue to treat this government as it was meant to be treated by those who founded it and by those who preserved it: as a government not of license, but of liberty and by and through the law of liberty, the liberty of good government both social and govermental (sic), as a system under which, so far as finite human ability to reach us, to reach that knowledge and system, under which each man is treated, not with regard to his wealth or his possessions or occupation, or his social position, but with reference to his fundamental qualities as a man among his fellows.
“Now, I thank you all for having listened to me. I thank you men of the Grand Army: I thank my comrades of the lesser war and the men of the National Guard, for let us remember that exactly as we pay honor to the men of hte greater war, so the man Regular or Volunteer Regular or National Guardsman, who wears the uniform under the fltg (sic – should be flag), has a peculiar claim upon all Americans.
“Good-bye and Good Luck.”
Tags: 1903, Allison, Billeas, Chantland, Degnan, Dolliver, Fairburn, Fecht, Fisher, Larrabee, McCoy, Merry, Price, Rhodes, Theodore Roosevelt, Wallace, Wheeler