Sunday, May 19, 2013

May 19 (1903) President Roosevelt leaves Yosemite with optimism "I believe in you"

"There can be nothing in the world more beautiful than the Yosemite, the groves of giant sequoias and redwoods." Outdoor Pastimes of an American Hunter 1905

On this day, May 19, 1903 President Roosevelt left the Yosemite Valley. The San Francisco Call reported that several in his party had never seen him so buoyant and rested. The crisp mountain air seemed to have given him a new lease on life. The President remarked on his amazing appetite, and how good everything tasted in the woods.

While travelling the President expressed optimism about America's future.

"I fail to see how any public man cannot believe in the future of this country after he has gone as I have gone from one side of the continent to the other...

"I am glad that the soil and climate here are such as to give the us that indispensable base of material...but gentlemen and ladies, the thing that pleases me most, even more than the crops, is the men and women I meet (applause). I believe in your future because I believe in you, not only in the climate and soil. You can take the best climate and the best soil and put a poor shiftless, trifling creature on the soil and you do not get any results.

I believe in brilliancy, not in genius. I believe in the ordinary humdrum work-a-day virtues that make a man a good man in his family, a good neighbor, and a good man to deal with in business, a good man to deal with in the state, and when you have a man with these characteristics in him you have a man who, if need comes, will rise level to that need."

Image from Theodore Roosevelt Association.

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Flannery O'Connor

You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you odd.