Letter to the Editor

Failure to recognize Hull is a travesty

Friday, July 3, 2009

I read with great dismay the article on the front page (of the Nashville newspaper) headlined; "Gore, Hull statues voted down." The article dealt with the legislature voting down erecting statues for the two Nobel Laureates from Tennessee.

I agree with not erecting one to Al Gore during his lifetime. Let his lifetime of achievements dictate whether or not we erect a statue in his honor. It's long been state policy not to erect statues to the living. Sen. Ken Yager, R-Harriman, stated "It's probably a better rule to wait until a person is dead."

It was noted in the article that the vote on the statues was "on the basis that recipients of Capitol Hill honors should be dead." The problem with that is that Cordell Hull died in 1955. It would be a great travesty to not honor Cordell Hull with a statue in his honor. He was born in a log cabin in Pickett County and rose to be one of the greatest statesmen of the United States. His background was in the practice of law. He was even a judge for a few years.

He was elected to Congress in 1907 and served until 1931 when he was elected U.S. senator. He resigned upon his appointment as secretary of state by President Roosevelt in 1933. In 1944, he resigned because of ill health.

Hull foresaw danger to peace in the rise of the dictators; advocated rearmament; supported aid short of war to the Western democracies; and warned the U.S. military well before the attack on Pearl Harbor to be ready for simultaneous, surprise attacks at various points.

He will be best remembered for his effort and expertise in preparing a blueprint for an international organization dedicated to the maintenance of peace and endowed with sufficient legislative, economic, and military power to achieve it.

This man deserves a statue erected in his honor on Capitol Hill. President Harry S. Truman once said, "Ingratitude is a cardinal sin." I agree.

The odd part of this is I am a Republican. Cordell Hull was Democrat. This matter transcends party lines.

Gov. Bredesen, since you're in your last term as governor, you are referred to as a "lame duck." Well, I firmly believe you can prove people wrong by taking a firm stand to see that our legislature passes a bill to erect a statue in honor of Nobel Laureate and former Secretary of State Cordell Hull. You should spearhead this effort. Let's take the initiative and show the rest of the country that we are first in recognizing the accomplishments of our citizens and especially this native son.