|AUTHORIZING AWARD OF CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR TO THEODORE ROOSEVELT|
[Congressional Record: October 8, 1998 (House)] [Page H10121-H10126] From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov] [DOCID:cr08oc98pt2-36]
Mr. BUYER. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill (H.R. 2263) to authorize and request the President to award the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously to Theodore Roosevelt for his gallant and heroic actions in the attack on San Juan Heights, Cuba, during the Spanish-American War.
The Clerk read as follows:
|Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the President is authorized and requested to award the congressional Medal of Honor posthumously to Theodore Roosevelt, of the State of New York, for his actions in the attack of San Juan Heights, Cuba, during the Spanish-American War on July 1, 1898. Such an award may be made without regard to the provisions of section 3744 of title 10, United States Code, and may be made in accordance with award criteria applicable at the time of the actions referred to in the first sentence.|
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Buyer) and the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. McHale) each will control 20 minutes.
The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Buyer).
Mr. BUYER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume. Mr. Speaker, on September 28 I chaired a Subcommittee on Military Personnel hearing that examined the evidence supporting the award of the Medal of Honor to Theodore Roosevelt for his valor on July 1, 1898, during the Battle of San Juan Hill in the Spanish-American War.
During the hearing we heard compelling testimony about the courage and decisiveness of Theodore Roosevelt from two of our colleagues who studied his actions that day in great detail, the gentleman from New York (Mr. Lazio) and the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. McHale).
We learned the details of the military battle that day and the political battle that followed from the historians, Dr. John A. Gable, the executive director of the Theodore Roosevelt Association, and Mr. Nathan Miller, the author of the biography ``Theodore Roosevelt, A Life.''
Mr. Speaker, finally, we also heard from Mr. Tweed Roosevelt, the great-grandson of Theodore Roosevelt. We heard about the man Theodore Roosevelt, a man of immense energy and intelligence and a family man, a man of unwavering moral fiber, a man of immense stature in the history of this Nation, and the great impact that he had upon his four sons. Then we stop and think about the fact that this is a family that lost four sons in a uniform, three in World War I and one in World War II.
Mr. Speaker, we are honored today to have Mr. Tweed Roosevelt in the gallery to witness this historic celebration of an important moment in the life of his great-grandfather. On behalf of myself and the Committee on National Security and the House of Representatives, I would like to thank Mr. Roosevelt for being here today to represent his family and to share this moment with us.
We can talk about the greatness of the man in Theodore Roosevelt, about his fidelity and his honor and his integrity, and we recognize that these are attributes for which there is no disagreement on this House floor with regard to this President. But what we must focus on is not about the life of the man and how he led it and his impact upon not only his family and the Nation, we have to focus on what happened, as was documented by evidence that occurred at the Battle of San Juan Hill in San Juan Heights. It is his heroic performance, the documented evidence that it did meet the established standard for the award of the medal at the time.
I would like to summarize the evidence of Theodore Roosevelt's heroism that I found instructive. The extraordinary nature of his bravery was confirmed by superiors, subordinates and other eyewitnesses. His willingness to expose himself to the most extreme hazards of the battle, as evidenced by a number of people killed or wounded around him, and his decision to lead the charge on horseback, the only mounted man in the attack, demonstrated an utter and complete disregard for his own life. Such qualities at least equaled the selfless service of those who were awarded the Medal of Honor for service that day, most for rescuing wounded comrades under fire.
His raw courage and fearless, bold and decisive action in leading these two charges when other commanders and officers around him hesitated to do so saved lives. Not only did his actions save lives on that day, but his conspicuous action and valor changed the course of the battle and clearly set him apart from his contemporaries.
His recommendation for the Medal of Honor came from two officers: Major General William Shafter and Colonel Leonard Wood, who were most qualified to judge whether the extraordinary bravery and nature of Roosevelt's actions qualified for the award of the medal since previously both had been awarded the medal themselves.
Mr. Speaker, I, as chairman of the Subcommittee on Personnel, get many different requests to somehow reshape or change the course of history, whether some unit is entitled to this form of citation, or someone should have been promoted that was unjustly, or even overturned courts-martial is correct, and I am always very hesitant to take my judgments of the day and replace them for the judgments of those who are were there at the time.
What is clear to me about this case, about Theodore Roosevelt and the Medal of Honor, was that it was the military that recommended that he receive the Medal of Honor. That is what got my attention the most. And it was my dear friend, the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. McHale), who sat me down and made me focus, and he pointed something out to me that was very intriguing, and it was to focus upon the individual of whom recommended and the individual of whom endorsed the Medal of Honor.
When I think of Colonel Leonard Wood, there is a fort named after Colonel Leonard Wood in Missouri. His rank, he was the assistant surgeon of the United States Army and he received the Medal of Honor himself, and he did that because voluntarily he carried out dispatches through the region infested at the time with hostile Indians, making a journey of 70 miles in one night and walking 30 miles the next day; also, for several weeks while in close pursuit of Geronimo's band, and constantly expecting an encounter, commanded an attachment of infantry which was then without an officer and to the command which he was assigned upon his own request.
The individual that endorsed the Medal of Honor was Major General William Shafter, who is a recipient of the Medal of Honor himself. At that time during the Civil War, he was a lieutenant. He was engaged in a bridge construction, and he was not being needed, and then he returned with his men to engage with the enemy, participated in a charge across an open field that resulted in casualties to 18 out of 22 of his men. At the close of the battle, with his horse shot out from underneath him, and he was severely wounded, he remained on the field that day and stayed to fight the next day, only to have his wounds finally take him aside.
So when I think about where in our history have we ever had two individuals who were recipients of the Medal of Honor themselves recommend someone else receive the Medal of Honor. These are two individuals who understand what it means to be awarded the medal, and that is where I give the most credibility.
Mr. Speaker, in the absence of records, and to substantiate why the decoration was disapproved at the time, I believe there is credible evidence that politics and not an honest assessment of his valor was the prime consideration for the evaluation of Theodore Roosevelt's recommendation for the Medal of Honor. There is no doubt in my mind that then Secretary of War Russell Alger and the McKinley administration were acutely embarrassed by press reports generated by Roosevelt's criticism of Alger's decision not to return the troops home after the war because the administration feared a yellow fever epidemic in this country. When the troops were returned home shortly after the exposure of the issue to the press, it was painfully clear that Secretary Alger resented Theodore Roosevelt's involvement.
Mr. Speaker, the evidence supporting the award of the Medal of Honor to Theodore Roosevelt is overwhelming.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. McHALE. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from Mississippi (Mr. Taylor).
Mr. TAYLOR of Mississippi. Mr. Speaker, today we are considering H.R. 2263, a bill to authorize the President to award the Congressional Medal of Honor to Theodore Roosevelt for his historic charge during the Battle of San Juan Heights. I am pleased to join my colleague, who should have been Secretary of the Navy, the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. McHale) in cosponsoring this legislation.
Teddy Roosevelt's charge up Kettle Hill at San Juan Heights is one of the most inspiring moments in our Nation's history. His bravery and gallantry demonstrates how one man's initiative can change the course of a battle. For his bravery he was nominated for the Congressional Medal of Honor. However, it was never bestowed by the Secretary of the Army.
Mr. Speaker, the Medal of Honor is the highest award our Nation can bestow, and, therefore, we should not confer this honor lightly. However, we must recognize the standards for awarding the medal at that time were not the same as the standards for awarding it now. We need the Department of Defense to examine this case on its merits in light of the others who won the Medal of Honor during that engagement.
The Subcommittee on Military Personnel recently held a hearing on the case for awarding the Medal of Honor, the award that Colonel Roosevelt valued so highly and that his superiors so clearly wanted to give him. While I was unable to attend this hearing because of the hurricane that was in south Mississippi last Monday, I understand that witnesses unanimously reaffirmed the case for awarding the medal. I hope this legislation will give the Department the chance to do the same.
Mr. Speaker, while I have the chance, I would like to take this opportunity to commend the bill's author, the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. McHale). Paul has not been a Member of Congress as long as some others, but he has served this body extremely well. He was asked by the President to serve as the Secretary of the Navy and declined, and was one of a very few people on this side of the aisle who felt that the best thing for our country, regardless of partisan politics, was to ask the same man who offered him the job of Secretary of the Navy to resign.
I think the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. McHale) is the kind of people that we need more of in Congress. I regret his departure, and I am honored to have cosponsored this bill with him.
Mr. BUYER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 4 minutes to the distinguished gentleman from New York (Mr. Solomon), the chairman of the Committee on Rules.
Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Speaker, I thank the great American from Indiana, and I also want to commend another great American from Pennsylvania (Mr. McHale). I praise him for a different reason. He was a good marine, he is still a good marine, and that is why I salute him and admire him so much.
Mr. Speaker, I really am pleased to rise in strong support of this bill. Theodore Roosevelt is universally recognized as one of the most popular and significant public figures in American history, and we New Yorkers are particularly proud of him as the greatest Republican in the history of our State.
He was a man who devoted his life to fighting for what he called a ``square deal,'' my colleagues remember that, for every American. His name is synonymous with the principles of fairness, justice, love of nature and the highest standards of morality and ethics, standards that he maintained both in public and private life.
So it is a proud moment for me to endorse his receiving the Medal of Honor. This bill will correct the miscarriage of justice which denied him the Medal of Honor during his own lifetime, despite the strong recommendations on his behalf by superior officers and others with whom he served in the Spanish-American War.
Mr. Speaker, not only have I had the privilege of representing the home of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Hyde Park, New York, but I also represent the Adirondack Mountains where President Theodore Roosevelt spent much of his time. I would like to take just the rest of my time to tell a little-known story about the circumstances that surrounded Theodore Roosevelt's accession to the Presidency.
When President McKinley was shot in Buffalo, New York, then-Vice President Roosevelt rushed to the scene. Upon being assured by doctors that the President was out of danger, Roosevelt joined his family for a camping and hiking trip in the Adirondack Mountains up where I live, and, Mr. Speaker, on the afternoon of September 13, 1901, Roosevelt and several hiking companions were descending from Mount Marcy, one of the most beautiful mountains in the Adirondacks, when word came that the President's condition had taken an unexpected turn for the worse.
They then hiked 12 miles in 3 hours and 15 minutes through the woods to reach a lodge where Mrs. Roosevelt was staying and they could await developments. And at 10 p.m., word came the President was sinking rapidly.
Roosevelt set out from there in a single horse-drawn carriage on a breakneck ride through the night in a thickly-forested area to reach the railroad station at North Creek, New York. The horse and driver were changed twice en route, and Roosevelt covered 34 miles in a little over 6 hours. In the final relay, he covered 16 miles in just one hour and 41 minutes, and I challenge anybody to do that. Upon his arrival at North Creek just after dawn on September 4, 1901, Theodore Roosevelt was informed that he was the 26th President of the United States of America. It was exactly 43 days before his 43rd birthday. He then boarded the train for Buffalo and was formally sworn in later that day.
Today, in my congressional district, there is a plaque that marks the approximate spot where Roosevelt was in his mad dash through the night at the moment that McKinley died. It was at that moment in that spot that he became the President of the United States of America.
Mr. Speaker, let me just conclude by making one more point. Theodore Roosevelt's wartime exploits are well-known. Perhaps less well-known today is the fact that he was the very first American person to receive the Noble Peace Prize. He was awarded that singular honor in 1906 in recognition of his successful effort to negotiate settlement in the Russo-Japanese War. Roosevelt's role as a peacemaker provides a very interesting counterpart to his role as a soldier.
It is for that later role that we give him this due recognition today in awarding him that Medal of Honor. I just commend my good friend and former marine, the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Paul McHale) for bringing this badly needed legislation to the floor, finally.
Mr. McHALE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Let me first of all thank the gentleman from New York (Mr. Solomon) for his very nice remarks. I would point out to the gentleman from New York that the carriage to which he made reference is today on display in the Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain Lake. My family and I had the opportunity to view that carriage a few years ago.
Let me also thank the gentleman from Mississippi (Mr. Taylor) for the kind personal remarks that he directed toward me. In the interest of complete truth, I want to make it clear that I withdrew my name for consideration as Secretary of the Navy before the President had made any final decision, and before any offer had been made to me.
Moving on to what is truly important, the combat record of Theodore Roosevelt, I rise to recommend to the membership of the House that the Medal of Honor be granted to former President Theodore Roosevelt.
On July 1, 1898, Lt. Col. Theodore Roosevelt of the 1st Volunteer Cavalry led an extraordinary charge on San Juan Heights, located on the island of Cuba during the Spanish-American War. Eyewitness accounts indicate that Colonel Roosevelt distinguished himself by, and I quote, ``displaying the greatest bravery, and placing his life in extreme jeopardy by unavoidable danger to severe fire.''
I have had conversations in recent days with the Acting Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of the Army, where a position was presented to me that although Theodore Roosevelt had been brave on that day, they indicated it did not appear, based on the Army's analysis of the recommendation, that the courage shown by Theodore Roosevelt was extraordinary by comparison to other officers of similar rank and responsibility.
Mr. Speaker, I have been a Member of this Congress for 6 years. I have been a United States Marine for 26 years. I would like to state in the strongest possible personal terms that the valor displayed by Theodore Roosevelt that day, July 1, 1898, was absolutely extraordinary, breathtaking. If anything, history has not credited to Theodore Roosevelt the full measure of courage that he showed under fire.
I respectfully submit, for reasons that I find inexplicable, the Army has failed to appreciate his leadership at that time and place. I believe, however, the record of contemporaneous correspondence captures full well the point that I am making.
As I read these accounts of men with him during the battle, I ask Members to determine whether or not the courage that Theodore Roosevelt showed that day was extraordinary, and whether or not, in light of observations of those who were there, he did indeed earn the Medal of Honor.
|July 6, 1898, just 5 days after the battle, to the Adjutant General, Washington, D.C.:|
|Sir, I have the honor to recommend Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, 1st U.S. Voluntary Cavalry, for the Medal of Honor for distinguished gallantry in leading a charge on one of the entrenched hills to the east of the Spanish position in the suburbs of Santiago de Cuba July 1, 1898, very respectfully, Leonard Wood, Colonel U.S. 1st Volunteer.|
|First endorsement, 3 days later, July 9, 1898:|
|Earnestly recommended, Joseph Wheeler, General, U.S. Volunteers, commanding, a gentleman who returned to active duty as a commanding officer from this very body where he was at that time serving as a member of the United States House of Representatives.|
Second endorsement, July 9, 1898, Respectfully forwarded to the Adjutant General of the Army:
|Approved; William R. Shafter, U.S. Volunteers, commanding.|
The recommendation, Mr. Speaker, then went to Secretary of War Alger. From that point forward, what was purely a military recommendation, based on extraordinary courage under fire, became mired in unrelated tangential and unfortunate politics.
Let me read the firsthand observations of those who witnessed Theodore Roosevelt's courage:
|Headquarters, United States Military Academy, April 5, 1899.|
My duties on July 1st, 1898, brought me in constant
observation of and contact with Colonel Roosevelt from early
morning until shortly before the climax of the assault of
the Cavalry Division on the San Juan Hill, the so-called
Kettle Hill. During this time, while under the enemy's
artillery fire from El Poso and while on the March from El
Poso to San Juan fjord, to the point from which his regiment
moved to the assault about 2 miles, the greater part under
fire, Colonel Roosevelt was conspicuous above any others I
observed in his regiment in zealous performance of duty, in
total disregard of his personal danger, and in his eagerness
to meet the enemy.
At El Poso, when the enemy opened on that place with artillery fire, a shrapnel bullet grazed one of Colonel Roosevelt's wrists. The incident did not lessen his exposure under fire, but he continued so exposed until he had placed his command under cover.
In moving to the assault of San Juan, Colonel Roosevelt was most conspicuously brave, gallant, and indifferent to his own safety. He, in the open, led his regiment. No officer could have set a more striking example to his men or displayed greater intrepedity.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, Colonel, U.S. Army, Superintendent of West Point.
|The second piece of correspondence, December 17, 1898:|
I hereby certify that on July 1, 1898, Colonel, then
Lieutenant Colonel, Theodore Roosevelt, 1st Volunteer
Cavalry, distinguished himself throughout the action, and on
two occasions during the battle when I was an eyewitness to
his conduct, was most conspicuous and clearly distinguished
above other men as follows:
Number one, at the base of San Juan, or first hill there was a strong wire fence or entanglement in which the line hesitated under grueling fire and where the losses were severe.
Mr. Speaker, I would insert parenthetically that Roosevelt's unit that day sustained higher casualties than any other unit engaged in the battle.
|Returning to the text:|
|Colonel Roosevelt jumped through the fence, and by his enthusiasm, his example and courage, succeeded in leading to the crest of the hill a line sufficiently strong to capture it. In this charge, the cavalry division suffered its greatest loss, and the Colonel's life was placed in extreme jeopardy owing to the conspicuous position he took in leading the line and being the first to reach the crest of that hill while under heavy fire of the enemy at close range. Number two, at the extreme advance position occupied by our lines, Colonel Roosevelt found himself the senior, and under instructions from General Sumner to hold that position, he displayed the greatest bravery and placed his life in extreme jeopardy by unavoidable exposure to severe fire while adjusting and strengthening the line, placing the men in positions which afforded best protection; and his conduct and example steadied the men by severe but necessary measures to prevent a small detachment from stampeding to the require. He displayed the most conspicuous gallantry, courage, and coolness in performing extraordinarily hazardous duty. Captain, 1st Lieutenant, U.S. Cavalry.|
|December 30, 1898:|
I have the honor to recommend that Theodore Roosevelt, late Colonel of the 1st Volunteers, U.S. Cavalry, receive the Medal of Honor as a reward for conspicuous gallantry on July 1st, 1898. Colonel Roosevelt, by his example and fearlessness, inspired his men at both Kettle Hill and the ridge known as San Juan. He led his command in person, and I witnessed Colonel Roosevelt's action.
I hereby certify that on July 1st, 1898, at the Battle of San Juan, Cuba, I witnessed Colonel Roosevelt, then Lt. Col. Roosevelt, First Volunteer Cavalry, United States Army Mounted, leading his regiment in the charge on San Juan. By his gallantry and strong personality, he contributed most materially to the success of the charge of the Cavalry Division up San Juan Hill.
Mr. Speaker, I have further eyewitness documentation, but in the interests of time, let me simply conclude by speaking extemporaneously.
Those who served with Theodore Roosevelt never doubted his courage. The men who went up the hill with him that day for the rest of his life and for the rest of their own, remembered a man of extraordinary courage who, in time of battle, displayed himself to enemy fire with absolute fearlessness.
There is absolutely no historic doubt that after being recommended by his commanding officer, as pointed out by the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Buyer), himself a recipient of the Medal of Honor, and the two senior officers next in the chain of command, Theodore Roosevelt was denied the Congressional Medal of Honor because he was then publicly engaged in an unrelated political dispute with the Secretary of War, who never quite found time to sign the recommendation that had been fully endorsed by the military chain of command.
After Theodore Roosevelt died, his widow, Edith, said that having been recommended for the Congressional Medal of Honor and having not received it was one of the most significant disappointments of Roosevelt's' life.
Let me conclude with this, Mr. Speaker, if I may. I admire Theodore Roosevelt, the President, tremendously, but after 26 years as a United States Marine, I would not recommend any man, including Theodore Roosevelt, for the Congressional Medal of Honor unless I believed deep in my heart that he had, through the display of valor, earned that decoration in battle. Mr. Speaker, I am absolutely convinced that that was the case.
Because of political intervention, a man who later became President of the United States but who on that day was simply a very, very brave lieutenant colonel was denied the medal for which he had been properly recommended.
It has been 100 years. Mr. Speaker, we today, in the memory of a great President and perhaps an even greater warrior, we have the opportunity to reverse a century of injustice by granting to Theodore Roosevelt, not President Roosevelt but Lt. Col. Theodore Roosevelt, the medal that he earned in battle.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. BUYER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 4 minutes to the gentleman from Long Island, New York (Mr. Lazio), who has worked very hard on this, along with the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. McHale).
Mr. LAZIO of New York. Mr. Speaker, I want to begin by thanking the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Buyer) for his leadership in bringing this to the floor. I also would like to acknowledge the great work of many different people who are not here in the Chamber, but who were instrumental in giving us the factual basis for this, including the Theodore Roosevelt Association, Tweed Roosevelt, James Roosevelt, and many others.
I rise in strong support of this bill to authorize the President to award the Medal of Honor to that great Long Islander, Theodore Roosevelt. Teddy Roosevelt was a man of honor, a man who held tightly to his ideals and stayed true to them in the face of adversity. The gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Paul McHale) too is such a man, and I cannot think of a more fitting tribute before he leaves this House than to pass this bill and to have it signed into law.
Theodore Roosevelt is a personal hero of mine. His leadership at the Santiago Heights is one of the reasons I admire him so. There were legions of men on the battlefield that day, and Teddy Roosevelt was just one, but unique among many, he seized the moment, cast aside all regard for personal safety, and he made history. He made history because of a choice he made in the face of danger, in the face of death. While we generally do not have to guard our lives because of the decisions we make here, we do have to guard our honor. I look to Theodore Roosevelt as an inspiration.
As has been remarked earlier, Roosevelt was a great President and a great statesman, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, an author, a conservationist, a reformer, a trustbuster, a great Commissioner of Police in New York City, a great Governor of the State of New York.
But for none of those reasons are we here today, as the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. McHale) said. It is because of what he did on that fateful day on July 1, one hundred years ago.
We speak more and more about role models in our society. Roosevelt was a role model of the first order. He told the truth. He did what he promised to do. He was an acknowledged inspiration to another Roosevelt, Franklin Delano. He remains a role model for all Americans.
The same character that made Theodore Roosevelt a role model also made him a hero. America could use some of that character right now. Today we have the marvelous opportunity to correct an injustice and complete the historical record. We have an opportunity to help grant Theodore Roosevelt the Medal of Honor that he so richly deserved 100 years ago. He does not deserve it because of what we say now in this Chamber, but because the historians and his contemporaries tell us he does.
Roosevelt's heroism on July 1 of 1898 has been documented. With his cavalry pinned down and taking heavy casualties, he fearlessly, on horseback, charged Kettle Hill, armed only with a revolver, knowing that his men would follow. The Rough Riders' heroic assault, with the brave Buffalo Soldiers and others, assured a quick victory, seized the high ground, and saved many lives.
Despite being recommended for the Medal of Honor by his superiors and subordinates alike, including those that have been referenced who have won the Medal of Honor themselves, the Secretary of War, Russell Alger, denied the medal out of personal dislike for Roosevelt.
Many others disagreed about this, but it was clear the medal was not denied on the merits; some say it was because Roosevelt called to have his troops brought back so they would not face further losses as a result of yellow fever, some because they felt Roosevelt was so exuberant, some because Roosevelt was simply a volunteer. But it was not based on the merit.
The Medal of Honor citation for Lt. Col. Wendell Neville during the Mexican Campaign of 1915 could easily be inserted in a citation for Theodore Roosevelt. It reads as follows:
|His duties required him to be at points of great danger in directing his officers and men, and he exhibited conspicuous courage, coolness, and skill in his conduct of the fighting. Upon his courage and skill depended, in great measure, success or failure. His responsibilities were great and he met them in a manner worthy of commendation.|
In the modern age, individual cases of heroism occur, but the weapons of today open opportunities for unprecedented individual achievements in combat.
In the formal application I have submitted to the Army I cite the action of a Platoon Sergeant McLeery during the Vietnam War. McLeery single-handedly assaulted a hilltop Vietnamese bunker complex, firing his machine gun from the hip and tossing grenades at the enemy. Upon reaching the top of the hill, McLeery shouted encouragement to his platoon, who then joined him in the assault. McLeery then began a lateral assault on the bunker line.
His modern weapons made possible the damage; however, his success was due to his leadership and his courage. The Medal of Honor is not made of machine guns, grenades, or killed enemies, but of uncommon valor, of courage, and of leadership. Strip away the weaponry, and Roosevelt's leadership and courage at Santiago is of the same caliber.
A hundred years ago an error was made. It is time to right this wrong. It is time to give Theodore Roosevelt the medal he earned in the closing years of the last century. It is time for justice.
Mr. BUYER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished gentleman from California (Mr. Cox) the chairman of the policy committee.
Mr. COX of California. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this resolution to recognize Theodore Roosevelt with the Medal of Honor, and in support of the two veterans of the armed services, the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Buyer) and the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. McHale) who have dignified us with this effort to bring it to the floor.
Mr. Speaker, I want in particular to recognize one of those two sponsors, because he is going to be leaving us at the end of this Congress which is close upon us. I listened the gentleman from Pennsylvania read about Teddy Roosevelt and describe to us the qualities that he possessed and the very reasons that he should receive this honor.
Mr. Speaker, during the gentleman's tenure in Congress, he has been exposed to severe fire, metaphorically, but nonetheless truly. He has led his colleagues and his countrymen by his conduct and his example.
I came to work with the gentleman from Pennsylvania when the President was preparing to send troops to Bosnia, and I know the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Buyer) did as well. In meetings with him, with the President, the Vice President, the Secretary of State, and other Members of the administration, the gentleman from Pennsylvania was always enormously well prepared, always articulate, and always made his points with compelling logic.
His patriotism has always been evident. Upon his retirement, we can do no less than to honor him by passing this bill and by recognizing that the extraordinary qualities that Teddy Roosevelt displayed are qualities that the gentleman also possesses.
Mr. McHALE. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from California for his kind words.
Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the distinguished gentleman from California (Mr. Rohrabacher), a dangerous proposition in this case.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Speaker, I find myself on this side of the aisle in order to honor the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Paul McHale) and thank him very much. I would like to associate myself with the remarks of the gentleman from California (Mr. Cox). I think that he summed up the admiration that all of us have for the gentleman from Pennsylvania and an admiration that will go with him in the years ahead.
Mr. Speaker, it was 100 years ago this year that Teddy Roosevelt led his Rough Riders in the Battle of San Juan Hill, which was a decisive battle of the Spanish-American War. History has long overlooked the significance of that battle and the significance of that war, as well as the heroism of Colonel Teddy Roosevelt.
Had the battle of San Juan Hill been lost, America's expeditionary force would likely have been stuck into a no-win conflict, mired down with thinning ranks, troops being thinned, yes, from disease and from lack of competence on the part of our own country in terms of the art of fighting a war.
In fact, at that time we did not know how to transport our troops. We did not know how to supply our troops. And many more of those people who volunteered, those young heroes who volunteered during the Spanish- American War died of eating tainted meat than they did from enemy bullets, because our country did not have the expertise. And if it had not been for the determination and the courage and the gallantry of men like Theodore Roosevelt, that war would have turned out differently.
We need to ask ourselves as Americans, as we look back on this long forgotten war in the last century, what would the America that we know have been like had we lost that war? Most certainly had we lost that small war, America's attitude towards involvement in the world would have been totally different. The American ``can do'' consciousness that was so much a part of the 20th century would not have been a part of the decision-making process of our leaders and of our people when the great threats to all mankind emerged in the 20th century. That of Naziism, Fascism, Japanese militarism, and communism.
Instead, America faced the 20th century with a positive sense of destiny; that we were meant to be a positive force in the world. This can be tied back to the success of that small war, that forgotten war, the Spanish-American War and Teddy Roosevelt's pivotal moment in American history.
Teddy Roosevelt, in leading his troops up San Juan Hill, showed as much gallantry, and we have heard the evidence today, as our Medal of Honor winners. He exposed himself to the withering fire of the enemy and literally led his troops on horseback and making a target out of himself.
Yes, Teddy Roosevelt deserved the Nation's highest award and politics, as we heard, got in the way. Let us today pay this long overdue honor to this American President and this American hero.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Buyer), and also like to say thanks to my good friend and colleague the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. McHale) who is going to be leaving this House, but he will be with us. Thanks to his efforts, we are expressing the appreciation in this long overdue tribute.
Teddy Roosevelt's courage and leadership in this battle, and his indomitable spirit, did much to shape the American character. We are giving him thanks today. It has also been stated by another friend who is also leaving, the gentleman from New York (Mr. Solomon) that Teddy Roosevelt was also the winner of the Nobel Prize. And if we succeed today, and I hope we do and I hope this goes through the legislative process, Teddy Roosevelt will be the only individual in history to have earned both the Medal of Honor and the Nobel Peace Prize. I think that is a fitting tribute for a man who represented so much and did so much to shape the 20th century, the American century.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this resolution.
Mr. BUYER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, as I reviewed this case, a list of words come to mind. I want to share them. They are words that come to mind with regard to Teddy Roosevelt and his gallantry. They are virtues and ideals and values that we can all admire. I think about valor, bravery, gallantry, courage. He was audacious. He was bold. He was dauntless, fearless, gutsy. He had intrepid character. He was valiant, stalwart, steadfast. Yes, venturesome and daring.
And then I add three more: Bold-hearted, brave-hearted and lionhearted.
Those words, yes, apply to Teddy Roosevelt and his conspicuous valor and gallantry on that day, and that is why I believe this House should overwhelmingly pass this resolution to authorize the President of the United States to award the Medal of Honor to one of our great presidents, Theodore Roosevelt.
Let me conclude and say to my very dear friend, as you go home to your family, this Congress will miss you, the country will miss you, but more importantly, I am going to miss you, my friend.
When I think about bold-hearted and brave-hearted and lion-hearted, I think of Paul McHale, because your heart is in the right place, my friend. Godspeed to you, and that phone is two-way. Do you hear me?
Mr. McHALE. I do.
Mr. BUYER. Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. McHALE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume for concluding remarks.
Mr. Speaker, is it too late to announce my reelection campaign? Had all these nice things been said about me a year ago I might have run again.
Mr. Speaker, Mr. Roosevelt, Tweed Roosevelt, I am delighted and honored that you are here with us today. Throughout the entire presidency of Theodore Roosevelt our forces were never ordered into battle. Theodore Roosevelt understood that the ultimate purpose of military power is to deter conflict and he, in fact, achieved that goal during his presidency.
I have had the opportunity on a number of occasions to go to the Roosevelt Room at the White House, where the Nobel Prize awarded to Theodore Roosevelt for his efforts in negotiating a peace in the Russo- Japanese War remains on display.
I can think of nothing more fitting for Theodore Roosevelt and in fact I can think of nothing more emblematic of our Nation than one day, following this action, to have the Congressional Medal of Honor on that mantle for display immediately adjacent to the Nobel Peace Prize.
We are a nation that reveres peace. We do all that we can to achieve peace, and we are prepared to go to war only in those cases when necessary to defend the fundamental interests and liberty of the citizens of our Nation.
We abhor war. We strive for peace. Those two medals, side-by-side, on display in the Roosevelt Room, would capture much of Theodore Roosevelt and all that is good in our Nation.
Mr. Speaker, in a couple of moments, when it is procedurally proper, I am going to call for a recorded vote. We have little time remaining in this Congress. It is imperative that the other body act within the next 24 to 48 hours. In order to impress upon the other body the sincere, overwhelming support of the membership of this House, I will call for a recorded vote so that the transmittal of that voting tally may, on the other side of the Capitol, provide an incentive for prompt consideration in the other body.
Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. LaTourette). Before putting the question, the Chair would remind all Members that pursuant to clause 8 of rule XIV it is not in order to recognize or call to the attention of
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Buyer) that the House suspend the rules and pass the bill, H.R. 2263.
The question was taken.
Mr. BUYER. Mr. Speaker, I object to the vote on the ground that a quorum is not present and make the point of order that a quorum is not present.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 5, rule I, and the Chair's prior announcement, further proceedings on this motion will be postponed.
The point of no quorum is considered withdrawn.