(Extensions of Remarks - May 23, 2013)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E729]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                           HON. NANCY PELOSI

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                        Wednesday, May 22, 2013

  Ms. PELOSI. Mr. Speaker, seventy years ago, a young man was ordained 
as a priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross and immediately 
volunteered to serve as a Navy Chaplain in World War II. At the time, 
duty to his church and commitments to his studies prevented him from 
serving in the Navy. Yet earlier this year, Father Theodore Hesburgh 
finally realized his dream: earning recognition as an Honorary Navy 
  This honor paid tribute to Father Hesburgh's extraordinary 
contributions--as a patriot of our country, as a leader of his Church, 
as a teacher and mentor, as a champion of the civil rights movement. He 
has been recognized by American presidents from Eisenhower to Obama. 
President Lyndon Johnson awarded him with the Presidential Medal of 
Freedom; President Clinton presented him with the Congressional Gold 
Medal, the highest honor Congress can bestow. These all paid tribute to 
a life that exemplified and gave meaning to the Navy Chaplain motto: 
``vocati ad servitium''--``called to serve.''
  It is only fitting that Father Hesburgh would be honored by the Navy, 
which has a rich history with Notre Dame. As he has noted in the past, 
during World War II, ``The Navy came in and kept us afloat until the 
war was over,'' using the Notre Dame campus for the Midshipmen's 
School, constructing drill halls and headquarters at the school, and 
building classrooms on the site of what is now the Hesburgh Library.
  Father Hesburgh was called to serve his faith and his fellow 
Catholics. He would take his first job at Notre Dame as chaplain for 
married veterans and would rise to serve as President of the 
University. But what he has embraced most is performing the most basic 
duties of a C.S.C. priest: saying mass; assisting the needy and giving 
voice to the voiceless; serving the poor and the abandoned, the hungry 
and the homeless.
  Father Hesburgh was called to serve the future of our country through 
his leadership in the field of higher education. He led Notre Dame for 
an incredible 35 years, yet his imprint extended further than a single 
campus. He demonstrated how to transform Catholic universities into 
exemplary institutions of higher education in modern times. He 
championed academic freedom and the pursuit of academic excellence. He 
has earned 150 honorary degrees, more than any other person in history.
  Father Hesburgh was called to serve to advance the cause of human 
dignity and justice in our society. Appointed by President Eisenhower 
to the Civil Rights Commission in 1957, he would shine a light on the 
need for voting rights in the south. He would become known as an 
architect of the Civil Rights Act. He would find himself standing hand-
in-hand with Martin Luther King Jr. at Soldier Field in Chicago, 
singing ``We Shall Overcome''--a photograph of which is proudly 
displayed in the National Portrait Gallery.
  Known as ``Father Ted'' to many, he understood the purpose behind the 
call to service, once charging a gnpup of graduates to ``be the kind of 
person who not only understands the injustices of this life, but is 
also willing to do something about them.'' That is what Father Hesburgh 
has done every day for the past 70 years.
  His students have been inspired by his message. Our country has been 
blessed by his leadership. The people have been strengthened by his 
presence. We are all grateful that he answered the call to serve.
  On the 70th anniversary of his ordination and as we approach his 96th 
birthday, we know that Americans will long be blessed by the legacy of 
Father Theodore Hesburgh.