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MEMORIAL TRIBUTES

IN THE

UNITED STATES SENATE

WEDNESDAY, October 29, 1969.

The Senate met at 12 o'clock meridian and was called to order by the Vice President.

The Chaplain, the Reverend Edward L. R. Elson, D.D., offered the following prayer:

Eternal Father, we give Thee thanks for all Thy servants who have witnessed to Thy grace and power in their generation. As we offer our tribute of esteem and affection for EVERETT MCKINLEY DIRKSEN, a comrade of the years, we give thanks for his piety and his patriotism, his wisdom and his humor, his love of nature and of his home, his strength of intellect and his power of speech, his devotion to duty and his support of good causes, his love of the Bible and his faithfulness to the God of the Book, for the song in his heart and the joy of his spirit.

Make us mindful of our own frailty and our immorality that we may live each day aware of Thy divine judgment. Bless this Nation and honor the service of all who are Members of this body, that we may be true as he was true, loyal as he was loyal, that this good land many be strengthened in righteousness, justice, and peace. Amen.

ADDRESS BY HON. CHARLES H. PERCY

OF ILLINOIS

Mr. President, apart from our collective memory of EVERETT McKINLEY DIRKSEN—seated, standing, or pacing before this Chamber; whispering, rumbling, advocating, embellishing, pleading, cajoling, and frequently persuading-each of us retains his distinct and private memories of our departed leader.

I think I shall always remember him most vividly in the setting where I first got to know him years ago—at innumerable political dinners in our State of Illinois. Usually their intent was to raise funds and their theme was invariably partisan. Their flavor, however, was pure DIRKSEN.

Following a version of the National Anthem-during which the assembled audience would grope for the key—the group would sit through an all-too-frequent meal of chicken and peas and then through perhaps a dozen "brief” preliminary speeches, each of them viewing with alarm the latest outrage perpetrated by the Democrats. Hundreds, occasionally thousands of people, would patiently sit through these evenings without complaint only because of the promised finale: An address by the Honorable EVERETT MCKINLEY Dirksen. A political audience would pay any price, bear any burden, to hear him speak.

They were seldom, if ever, disappointed.

As often as not, EVERETT would begin with a typically Dirksenesque tale which, had anyone else dared to offer it, immediately would have fallen flat. But EVERETT would tell his story with a sly twinkle in his eye and a mischievous note in his voice, his resonant voice rolling out the vowels; and no matter how farfetched, no matter how many times if had been heard before, the punchline invariably brought down the house. The audience was his, then and forever. People would knowingly whisper to one another: “Ev is in great form tonight," or "You can't top the old boy.” They would then settle back, satisfied that the evening's events had been rendered worth while by the star performer.

On these occasions, at which I usually was seated nearby, and I must say with candor not without envy, the minority leader seemingly arrived quite unprepared. He appeared hurriedly and late, often as he liked to remind the audience--directly from the Senate floor. There was no evidence of a text, and only an occasional note scribbled on a piece of paper.

And yet, as he weaved his magic, it was soon evident that he had no need of the usual props that sustain a political speaker.

He would talk glowingly of the Republican Party: "Gerry Ford— before that it was Charlie Halleck—and I need more troops in Washington," he would say, and then predict an unquestioned Republican majority, if not in the next Congress, then most assuredly in the one just after it.

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