UNCLE SAM; Congressional Record Vol. 161, No. 138
(Extensions of Remarks - September 24, 2015)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E1355-E1356]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                               UNCLE SAM


                           HON. PETE SESSIONS

                                of texas

                    in the house of representatives

                      Thursday, September 24, 2015

  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. Speaker, I am going to leave research to the 
researchers, and history to the historians and address myself to 
another, and even more basic aspect, of the issue before you. I am 
satisfied that when you review the historical data that is being 
presented here today, you will agree that there is no room for doubt 
where Uncle Sam Wilson lived and where he died and where he lies 
buried--in an all but forgotten grave. Troy's claim to Uncle Sam is 
beyond dispute.
  But there is another and, as I said, an even more fundamental aspect 
to this issue. It might be expressed in the unspoken question which, I 
am sure, has suggested itself to some, if not all, of the members of 
this committee. You may well ask: With Congress laboring to resolve the 
most complex issues, which reflect the crises which face our nation at 
home and abroad, why all this fuss about Uncle Sam? I should like to 
try to answer that question.
  There was a time when our country passed immeasurable advantages over 
the rising tide of world Communism. We had technology, we had the 
production know-how, we had the most advantageous tools of peace--yes, 
and the most advanced tools of war, including the atomic and hydrogen 
bombs. But our ascendancy in all these fields has, little by little, 
been erased or at best reduced.
  And, as we pause from time to time, to assess the progress of the 
never-ending struggle for survival which we call the ``Cold War'', we 
would do well to ask ourselves, bluntly and realistically: What do we 
have today that Communism does not have?
  It may be difficult to find a satisfying answer to this question in 
the areas of purely material progress. Nor is it surprising that 
Communism, the expression of materialistic philosophy, should be strong 
in material advantages. But there is a heartening answer to our 
question when we go a step beyond the purely material aspects of the 
struggle, into the spiritual aspects which, after all, in the long run, 
will resolve and decide the issue.
  What do we have that Communism does not have? We have our American 
heritage--a heritage that is reflected in our history, in our 
tradition, in every detail of the great success story that is the story 
of America. When Mr. Khrushchev shakes his fist and points to his 
rockets and his space ships and his legions parading in Red Square, we 
can stand before the world and point to our American heritage--to our 
history and our institutions and our principles. And it seems to me, 
that the nations of the world and the people of the world, faced with a 
choice, will know which way to go.
  When Mr. Khrushchev shouts, ``Look what we got,'' we can reply, 
``Look what we ARE.'' And since the Cold War is, in great measure, a 
struggle for men's minds--a war of propaganda, if you will--one of the 
most important responsibilities we have is to project the American 
image in every corner of the world. Gentleman, we have that image 
ready-made. It's Uncle Sam--that kindly, serious, honest old gentleman 
in his striped suit and tall hat. In the minds of millions here and 
abroad, he stands for all the virtues and qualities that are wrapped up 
in the American dream--honor, initiative, industry, opportunity, 
freedom, respect for the rights of others, and, above all, regard for 
the dignity of the individual. It's all there in that picture. And it's 
worth more in the world struggle than all Mr. Khrushchev's space ships 
and rockets and nuclear bombs.
  But here is the point we must not overlook. What makes the image of 
Uncle Sam important and vital and compelling, is that Uncle Sam is 
real. And the world needs to know he is real. The world must be told 
that he is not a fictitious, shoddy trademark after the manner of an 
American advertising campaign. He is no cartoonist's whimsy. He is no 
Madison Avenue gimmick.
  Uncle Sam really lived. And from what we know of him, he embodied 
many, if not all of the qualities and virtues, that make us proud of 
our American heritage. Not only is Uncle Sam a real, flesh-and-blood 
American, he is particularly representative of the things that have 
made America great--initiative, industry, business acumen, Yankee 
resourcefulness. Going even a step further, when you consider how the 
term ``Uncle Sam'' was coined, you find an eloquent representation of 
the partnership between private enterprise and military effort in one 
of the most critical moments of our history--the same sort of 
partnership that made America mighty and respected--yes, and in the 
councils of the ungodly, feared.
  We, in America today, know something about how advertising and 
propaganda works. We know how difficult it is to sell an idea; any 
intangible idea or concept, until we clothe it in some image people can 
see and touch. Well, the people of the world know Uncle Sam. And the 
better they know him, the more they will respect and love him. And in 
accepting him, they will be embracing all the principles that go to 
make up the good life.
  Our own people too, need to know Uncle Sam better. Every nation needs 
its heroes, needs the inspiration and pride that come from a healthy 
respect for its historical figures. From Uncle Sam, we all can get a 
deeper appreciation of the American way.
  I have just one more point to make and it goes to the heart of all 
that is being said here today. Never--I say it again, gentlemen--never 
forget that Uncle Sam is real. Let us not go off waving the picture and 
leaving the substance behind. Let us never forget that Uncle Sam had a 
last name too--and that name was Wilson. Let us never forget that Uncle 
Sam lived among us and worked among us and, when his time came, died 
among us.
  And need I suggest, gentlemen, that his resting place should command 
the attention and respect of the nation he has come to symbolize. Too 
long has Uncle Sam Wilson slept, almost unknown and unnoticed, on that 
grassy hillside overlooking the Hudson River.
  Of course we in Troy--whose forebears knew and worked with Samuel 
Wilson--we in Troy are proud of Uncle Sam. We have marked his grave 
modestly and have done what we could to make him better known. We feel 
that, in this effort, we have been doing what the American people would 
want to do, would insist upon doing, if they knew the story as we know 
  And now we come, gentlemen, to the halls of Congress to ask you as 
the representatives of the American people to discharge a debt that is 
long overdue.
  Across the nation, we have federal installations of all kinds--among 
them, navy yards and arsenals and forts and missile bases and atomic 
testing sites--so many of them grim monuments to the unhappy aspects of 
our national existence. We have too few monuments to the more inspiring 
  We ask you to add another to the roll. We ask that you create, if you 
will, a Shrine of Americanism at the grave of the man who has become--
after the Stars and Stripes--America's greatest symbol. The military 
installations are necessary indeed, if only to help us stay alive. But 
the final, inevitable victory in the great world struggle will be won 
by the ideals and principles--ideals and principles that are loftier 
than the highest space shot and more powerful than the most destructive 

[[Page E1356]]

  I feel sure, gentlemen, that we can say without fear of challenge, 
that America will always be the leader of all nations in armed might, 
indeed in any field of material or productive ingenuity. Communism, the 
greatest threat to mankind, leaves no room for sentiment of nostalgia. 
Sentiment and nostalgia breed individualism. Individualism is a quality 
of Freedom. Here is where we need our Uncle Sam. Uncle Sam is the 
breathtaking feeling of pride that goes with the beat of the military 
band and the marching men. Uncle Sam is the quiver in the lip as the 
picture of Surabachi flashes before our mind. Uncle Sam is the 
invisible resident of the tombs of the known and unknown dead in our 
  Gentlemen, I can assure you, we have no selfish interest in our quest 
for recognition of this great America. We ask only, that you accept 
from us, this treasure that lies buried in a modest grave in Troy, New 
York. Recognize it, as it so richly deserves, and give it to all our 
  That is the message Uncle Sam has for us today. That is the message 
that will be reflected at the shrine for Americanism over his grave in 
Troy, New York.