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Mr. Speaker, this country has lost one of its distinguished statesmen. Beyond the fact that he came from Missouri, our loss is felt with the entire Nation.
Mr. Speaker, I wish to join in expressing my feelings of sympathy to his family. I lost a very close friend.
Remarks by Representative Sullivan
Mr. Speaker, CLARENCE CANNON was well aware for many years that his lifespan had exceeded the biblical threescore and ten, and he often remarked on the honors which come to those who live long enough to serve here as long as he did. This was in keeping with his extreme modesty. But all of us who served here with him-and particularly those of us in the Missouri delegation—knew that it was more than longevity-more than age-which made CLARENCE CANNON a great Congressman among the select few who achieved greatness in the history of this body.
CLARENCE CANNON knew at 85 that his days had to be numbered, and so, in view of the many achievements of his long career in Congress, and in view of the fine life he led and the happiness he enjoyed with his beloved wife Ida and their wonderful family, we shed no tears for CLARENCE CANNON. Instead, Mr. Speaker, we shed tears today for Mrs. Cannon and the children, and also for ourselves. How tenderly he loved his wife was a secret most of us were able to share, for he wore his heart on his sleeve. They were so fortunate to have had so many glorious years together.
All of us learned much from CLARENCE CANNON. I recalled to the House on April 11, a day before his 85th birthday, how much the orderly procedures of the Congress rest on the monumental work he performed as Parliamentarian of the House before his own election in 1923. “Cannon's Precedents,” the huge compilation of all important or significant decisions made by presiding officers of the House for many years, is one of the most important scholarly works in the annals of legislative bodies, and one of the most practical also.
As chairman of the Committee on Appropriations, he knew everything—almost everything—about every program of Government in which taxpayers' funds were spent. And he was instrumental in making this country into a military power of unmatched strength.
But it is CLARENCE CANNON the man whom we mourn—the friend, the kind and courtly and thoughtful person who was forever writing notes to us to thank us or congratulate us or express condolences or to make helpful little suggestions for campaigning or for serving one's constituents better.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch once referred to his "astringent face.” He often looked angry when he was not. He was so utterly absorbed in the work of the Congress, and of the Appropriations Committee, that he often seemed to be scowling when he was just quietly thinking out some problem of immense national concern. Petty things did not concern him, nor did he have any time for petty people.
In the death of CLARENCE CANNON, I weep for Ida Cannon and the children, and I also weep for Leonor Sullivan. For I loved him dearly for a quarter century. I shall always remember his wonderful kindnesses. I shall always remember his towering skill in House debate, and his greatness as a Member of the Congress of the United States-one of the alltime greats in the entire history of the Congress.
Remarks by Representative Hull
Mr. Speaker, it is with a sense of profound sadness and personal grief that I rise to pay tribute to the dean of the Missouri delegation, the Honorable CLARENCE CANNON, one of the great statesmen ever to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.
I came to the Congress 10 years ago and from the moment I came through the door CLARENCE CANNON has been at my side with wise counsel, always giving me his friendship and encouragement and reminding me that the best a man can give here is none too good for this great country.
Our congressional districts adjoin one another in the great rural reaches of north Missouri. We served constituencies alike in their interests and aspirations and convictions and districts which demand that their Representatives stand by those convictions. No man was ever truer to his convictions, to his country, and to his constituents than CLARENCE CANNON.
Mr. CANNON came to Washington as secretary to an American political hero of this century, Speaker Champ Clark, and he learned the legislative art at Speaker Clark's side. A year after Speaker Clark's death in 1921, CLARENCE CANNON was elected to Congress from the same district, Missouri's famous “Bloody Ninth,” which he has served with unfaltering devotion in the more than four decades since.
It is impossible to mention all of the achievements of Mr. CANNON'S career or the myriad contributions he has made to this Nation and to this Congress.
It should be noted that with his passing we have lost one of the last great legislative parliamentarians who helped formulate the rules and customs by which the Congress operates.
As chairman of the Appropriations Committee for the better part of two decades, he was a zealous watchdog on the public purse during a period when governmental budgetary requirements increased manifold. No spending item was too insignificant to escape his scrutiny, and I am convinced that if it were not for his prudence and dedication to fiscal integrity, this country would be in much worse financial condition that it is today. Every American is in his debt. On this sad occasion, we would do well to ponder his admonition that “no government can indefinitely spend more than it takes in without risking disaster."
CLARENCE CANNON was the personification of the serious, studious, and dedicated public servant.
His work always came first, and he never spared himself in the execution of his responsibilities. His workweek knew no weekends or vacations; he was on the job he loved every day.
Of all his traits his wisdom, courage, energy, and kindliness to family and friends perhaps that which impressed me the most was his eternal youthfulness.
The last time I saw him was at an early morning breakfast just 2 days before he died. We gathered with school safety patrol children from Missouri and Mr. CANNON obviously was enjoying himself as he chatted with these young people. He showed a quick and active interest in them, and I remember him stressing to these young Americans the great importance of their future participation in the affairs of our democratic government. He handed five of his young constituents bright new silver dollars and commented with a smile: “They are not making these any more."
Yes, all of us who knew and loved CLARENCE CANNON thought he was ageless. It seems tragically impossible that he is gone, but those of us who were privileged to be his friend have been glorified by his friendship, and the faith of all Americans has been strengthened by the example of his life.