COLUMBUS: This is not a time for comedy. Civilization was attacked today.
The targets were in New York and Washington, but we ALL got hit. Yes sir, not just Americans, but everybody around the world who believes in freedom and democracy and fair play.
I was not going to write a Weekly Comments tonight. But then I thought, maybe a few of you would like to know how Will Rogers reacted to tragedies and disasters. Although nothing as instantly catastrophic as today’s horror occurred between 1879 and 1935, there were a number of disasters that he wrote about. (See Historical Quotes for some samples)
First, I will do something I can’t recall ever doing before in any of these Weekly Comments. That is to include one of my own ‘historic quotes’. Here is part of what I wrote in Weekly Comments #47 on August 20, 1998: “News is happening so fast it’s hard to believe it’s August…. We had bombs explode in Kenya and Tanzania and Ireland, Monica and Bill took shots at each other, and just today we sent missiles cruisin’ after some terrorists in Afghanistan and Sudan. You might not have heard of this Saudi Arabian billionaire named ‘Bin Ladin’, but you’re likely to hear plenty from him now. He’s got more money than many countries, and a bigger army than at least half of ‘em.”
Historical Quotes from Will Rogers:
“Well, all I know is just what I read in the papers. This sea tragedy [sinking of British luxury liner, The Vistrus] has just been about all we could see for the last 10 days, and it was awful hard to get your mind off it. Talk about stage plays and dramas, don’t they fade into nothing when a thing like this comes along! And the great part about it is nobody knows where, or who will bob up in the way of a hero.” WA #309, Nov. 25, 1928
“You read about the disaster in St. Louis and what the Red Cross did. No matter what happens, or where it goes to happen, they are the first there. That’s why everybody in America should belong to it.” DT #372, Sept. 30, 1927.
“I know you all read of the terrible movie theater disaster in Ireland yesterday. Well, I am going to Dublin on Wednesday to give a benefit for them. Cable over what you can, either to me at the Hotel Shelbourne or to President Cosgrave. It’s a real cause. Thanks.” DT #35, Sept. 6, 1926 (from London)
“Here is a suggestion that will help you all out of a lot of anxiety and anguish in case your town or district should be hit by some disaster. Run quick and turn off the radio…
So, in case of disaster, run (don’t walk) to the nearest radio and turn it off, for they take delight in killing you, whether you have been killed or not.” DT #2069, March 22, 1933.
“No nation ever had two better friends than we have. You know who they are? Well they are the Atlantic and Pacific ocean. There is a couple of boys that will stand by you. And you can always depend on ’em, three thousand miles wide and a mile deep.” WA 537, April 9, 1933 (their value dropped a bit on Sept. 11, 2001)