Page images
[merged small][ocr errors]



MONDAY MORNING SESSION, SEPTEMBER 27 The opening meeting of United Spanish War Veterans and National Auxiliary was held in the Plaza Theatre, Central Avenue and Fifth Street, St. Petersburg, Fla., Monday morning, September 27, 1925, at 9.15 o'clock.

Commander Wilson M. Brinker, General Leonard Wood Camp No. 8, United Spanish War Veterans, Department of Florida, presided.

His Excelleney, John W. Martin, governor of the State of Florida, was presented.

Hon. Duncan U. Fletcher, senior United States Senator from Florida, was presented.

His Excellency, William Brandon, governor of the State of Alabama was presented.

Hon. H. J. Drane, Member of Congress from the first congressional district of Florida, was presented.

Hon. C. M. Blanc, mayor of the city of St. Petersburg, Fla., was presented.

Whereupon the following proceedings were had :
The CHAIRMAN. Officer of the guard, advance the colors.
(The colors were advanced.)
The CHAIRMAN. Everybody will rise and salute the colors.
(The encampment and its guests saluted the colors.)

The CHAIRMAN. The Rev. W. A. Myers, chaplain, department of Florida, will now invoke the Divine blessing. Let us all rise for the invocation.

(The encampment arose.)

Rev. W. A. MYRES, chaplain, Department of Florida. Upon this assembly, upon all its delegations, we invoke Thy blessings,

oh Lord God; upon the distinguished men, our guests, we invoke Thy blessing, our Father. We pray Thee that this occasion may be profitable for the advancement of the patriotism of this mighty Nation, a Nation of Thy love and choice. Make us worthy, our Father, of this day and this occasion for Jesus' sake. Amen.

The CHAIRMAN. Now, comrades, we have been somewhat delayed this morning in waiting for the Marine Band. We understand the train is two hours late, or three hours late. We will have to start at once, as Commander Herrick says that at 11 o'clock he is supposed to begin his business. So we will have to start right now without our Marine Band. It will be here later, however.

We now introduce to you Gov. John W. Martin, of Florida, who will give you an address of welcome. [Applause.]




Governor MARTIN. Mr. Chairman. The CHAIRMAN. Governor Martin. Governor MARTIN, Spanish-American War veterans, their ladies, and gentlemen, in the growth and development of the fair State of Florida, it is a privilege oftentimes accorded the people of the respective cities of this State, both as municipalities and as people individually, to entertain in their midst the citizenry of all the other States of the Union. Here in the splendid city of St. Petersburg the opportunity comes often to her citizenry to mingle with the citizens of every State in the Union. It is a privilege, though, and a pleasure for the people of Florida to know the people of the sister States of the Nation. It is a privilege that I have to frequently welcome to our State, conventions that come for commercial purposes; conventions that come for the discussion of things that are particularly pertinent to the vocation of those who come or particular to the aim that they may have at variance with that of yours. But to-day I have the privilege to speak to you on behalf of the citizenry of all of the States, reaching from the western border to the easternmost part of the continent, to extend you a welcome on behalf of those people because you come as what, may I ask? You come as soldiers! You come as heroes! You come as men and women that have helped write the history of this great Nation. [Applause.) And so it is a privilege to welcome you not only for your individual selves but because of what you have done in American history.

The greatness and grandeur of this country of ours has been made and its history written by the achievements of her people. The American manhood and womanhood have always risen equal to every emergency when the Nation called upon them to serve. [Applause.) ] The manhood of America rose when a nation called upon them in ninety-eight to help free Cuba and to vindicate the policies and institutions of this country of ours, and so, ladies and gentlemen, it is a double privilege to be able to speak to you to-day on behalf of the people of my State.

I want to impress upon you in the sincerest manner that Florida and her people are delighted to have you here; that they consider it a signal privilege and a particular honor to have you choose this beautiful city of our great State as the place of your convention.

My countrymen, after all, we are the same kind of people. It matters not whether we live in Florida or Georgia, in Maine or Washington, or in sunny California. [Applause.) We have our rivalries among ourselves, but when the occasion presents itself we unite for any emergency. [Applause.]' I can recall those stirring

: times when the Nation called you to arms and when a great many of you embarked at Tampa to sail for the Island of Cuba. I can appreciate the hardships; I can appreciate the courage; I can appreciate those things that you gave for your country. I can appreciate, as a whole, the things that the American soldier does give for his country. And I am happy that my State, during my adminis


tration, saw fit to raise the pensions for the old, helpless, and feeble soldiers of Florida in the Civil War from $25 a month to $40 a month. [Applause.] ]

Oh, what is it that a State or a nation can ask more of her citizenship? What greater sacrifice can they make than to be willing to lay down their lives for their country and then, in time of in the very flower of manhood, when they are willing to give all for the sacredness of their country, what more, I ask, can a State or

I a nation do in time of old age, in time of want, but come to the rescue of him that went to her rescue in time of stress and peril? [Applause.]

Permit me in conclusion to welcome the manhood of the SpanishAmerican War Veterans here. (Applause.) And, let me congratulate you gentlemen, too, on having the foresight and the common sense, if you please, of bringing the best part of you here in the person of the ladies. (Applause.) For, after all, ladies, if it were not for your grace and your charm, for you encouragement and for your dear selves, I am not sure what we men could do. (Applause.) And, as I look over the faces of you that are assembled here to-day I can see the average American in the face of the men, but I can see the prettiest kind of womanhood in the presence of you ladies. (Applause.) And so, the Spanish-American War Veteran not only demonstrated courage but he demonstrated good sense in selecting you all. (Applause.)

In listening to the delegation from California sing this morning, I thought that the proper thing for me to do was to let the men from California go back and keep the ladies here in Florida. (Applause and laughter.)

But, in all seriousness, that cordiality, that sympathy, that friendliness, and that welcome that every American, wherever he may come from, of whatever State he may be a citizen, that ought to be demonstrated and illustrated from one to another, we are happy, on behalf of the people of Florida, to extend you, whether you come from the eastern part of the Nation or from the cold part—the northern part, or from the East or the West, you are welcome. In the fullest extent, you are welcome, and without reservation and without the slightest idea of commercialism on this occasion, I say . to you that you are welcome.

I hope that your stay in our State will be agreeable; I hope that your stay here will be profitable to the veterans of those great wars, and that in your return to your native State that you will carry with you that good wishes, sympathy, and courtesy if you please, and the friendliness, that we people in Florida and of Florida wish to extend to you and which we ask you, in all sincerity, to convey to the people of your respective cities. I thank you. (Prolonged applause, the audience standing.)

The CHAIRMAN. Ladies of the auxiliary, commander, I will again announce that if there is present a past commander in chief he come to the platform; if there is a president general--a past president general-present, will she come to the platform, now.

The next speaker of this session is United States Senator Fletcher, of Florida, who has kindly consented to come and make an address.

« PreviousContinue »