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Proceedings in the Senate

MONDAY, April 24, 1995.

The Chaplain, Dr. Lloyd John Ogilvie, offered the following prayer:

Let us pray:

Almighty God, our hearts are at half-mast with grief over the catastrophic bombing of the Federal building in Oklahoma City. We mourn for the victims, especially the children, of this senseless crime and reach out with profound empathy to their families. We ask You to strengthen them as they endure incredible suffering. Graciously grant physical and emotional healing to those who survived. Most of all, comfort the children who ask "why?" and give wisdom to parents as they search for words to answer. We all need help in understanding an ignominious act of tyranny like this.

We only can imagine the agony of Your heart, Father. If our indignation burns white-hot, it must be small in comparison to Your judgment. You have given us freedom of will and made us responsible for the welfare of our neighbors. Our hearts break with Your heart over those who willfully cause suffering. Therefore, we boldly ask for Your divine intervention for the speedy capture and punishment of these traitors against our Nation and the sacredness of human life. As You have given us victory in just wars, now give us a strategy to defeat the illusive and dangerous forces of organized terrorism.

Lord God of this Senate, we are never more of one mind and heart than when dealing with a threat to our national security or in responding to a catastrophe in any one of our States. We rally in support of Senators Nickles and Inhofe as they continue to care for their people.

We press on to the issues of this day with the strong inspiration of the 40 years of leadership of JOHN STENNIS in this Senate. May the memory of his faith in You and his courage in conflict give us determination to seek, as he did, to do our best. In the Lord's name. Amen.

Mr. DOLE. Mr. President, I will just take a moment to talk about our departed friend who served here for many, many years, Senator JOHN STENNIS. When he left the Senate in 1989, he had served in this Chamber for 41 years—nearly one-fifth of the Senate's history. And those of us privileged to serve with him knew that he was one of the true giants of that history.

Senator STENNIS passed away yesterday at the age of 93, and I join all Senators in expressing our condolences on the death of our former colleague and in extending our sympathies to members of his family.

Senator STENNIS and I came from different regions of the country, from different political parties, and we had different views on many issues. But no one could know or serve with JOHN STENNIS without admiring his character, his integrity, or his patriotism.

JOHN STENNIS loved the Senate and worked to make it a better place. He was the first chairman of the Senate Committee on Standards and Conduct and was the author of the Senate's first code of ethics.

JOHN STENNIS also loved America, and as chairman of the Armed Services Committee, he never wavered from his belief that America's national defense should be second to none.

JOHN STENNIS was also a man of remarkable courage. In his seventies, he was shot and left for dead by robbers outside his Washington home. And in his eighties, he lost a leg to cancer. On both occasions, he not only recovered, but he was also back at work long before anyone thought possible.

Those of us who were here at the time will always remember the days when Senator STENNIS returned to the Chamber and the outpouring of respect and admiration that he received.

Mr. President, during his final years in this Chamber, Senator JOHN STENNIS was asked in an interview how he would like to be remembered, and he responded: "You couldn't give me a finer compliment than just to say, 'He did his best.'”

Today, his family, friends, and former colleagues can take solace in the fact that he will be remembered exactly how he wished-as a man who always gave nothing less than his

best.

Mr. THURMOND. Mr. President, we in the Senate were shocked to hear the news of the passing of a cherished friend and a former colleague: former Senator JOHN STENNIS from Mississippi.

Senator STENNIS served in this Senate Chamber for 40 years—from the time of his election to the Senate in 1947, through his retirement in 1989. During that time, he dedicated himself to giving our Nation the gift of wisdom and leadership.

Senator STENNIS was greatly admired by all who had the honor to serve with him. As chairman of the Armed Services Committee, he served with several Presidents; during that time he led the committee through the darkest days of the Vietnam war. Although he often saw his position on that war opposed by some of his fellow Democrats, he always did what he believed to be correct and in the best interest of our Nation.

For many years, Senator STENNIS and I were neighbors in the Russell Building. I recall with great fondness the kindness and good cheer he showed to me and my office staff on the many occasions he stopped in to say hello. Senator STENNIS completed his Senate career by serving with great distinction as President Pro Tempore of the Senate.

I had the honor of serving with Senator JOHN STENNIS for almost my entire Senate career. Throughout the years, I came to appreciate and respect his qualities of integrity, ability, and dedication.

Mr. President, JOHN C. STENNIS was a great American. He was a dedicated Senator who proudly represented the people of Mississippi with great distinction. We have lost a colleague, we have lost a leader; but most of all, we have lost a friend.

TUESDAY, April 25, 1995.

Mr. DASCHLE. Mr. President, I would like to take a few minutes to discuss the life and career of Senator JOHN C. STENNIS, who passed away earlier this week.

Senator STENNIS served in this Chamber for 41 years. His work here included serving as chairman of the Senate Armed Services and the Senate Appropriations Committees and as President Pro Tempore of this body.

Among his legislative achievements was his ability to bend and flow with the times. Once a staunch segregationist, Senator STENNIS cast his vote for the Voting Rights Act of 1982.

One area in which he never changed, however, was in upholding the safety and security of this great country. Senator STENNIS warned against overextending our military capacity. He also warned against wasteful defense spending. But he never wavered in his support of the country's national defense and ensuring that it maintained the military capacity to guarantee our freedoms and our liberties.

During his four decades in the U.S. Senate, Senator STENNIS was always an abiding example of integrity and fortitude. His respect for the institution of the Senate and the law of the United States made him an early opponent of the excesses and abuses of Senator Joe McCarthy. As a result, he and Senator Sam Ervin were named as the two Democratic members on the Watkins committee that investigated the recklessness of Senator McCarthy and led to his censorship.

In July 1965, the Senate created the Select Committee on Standards and Conduct, the forerunner of our current Select Committee on Ethics. This was a controversial creation, and everyone knew that whoever chaired it would be in a difficult position. The Senate had traditionally relied upon the voters of a State to discipline a Senator for improper behavior, and institutional discipline is a painful problem in an institution that depends on the collegiality of its Members. The only logical choice for this important and difficult leadership position was Senator STENNIS. The Mississippi Senator became so successful; and so respected in this position that the committee quickly became known as the “Stennis Committee.”

Mr. President, the career of Senator JOHN C. STENNIS was marked, not only with legislative triumphs, but with numerous personal triumphs over personal adversity.

In 1973, he was shot by robbers in front of his house and left for dead.

In 1983, his beloved wife of 52 years, Coy Hines Stennis passed away.

In 1984, a battle with cancer resulted in the loss of one of his legs and confined him to a wheelchair. While in the hospital recuperating from the surgery, he was visited by the President of the United States, Ronald Reagan. President Reagan later said that he had dreaded going to the hospital that day, for he feared the impact such a life-altering operation would have on a fiercely independent man like Senator STENNIS. But the President explained, "when I left, it was I who had been strengthened."

He had been strengthened by the Senator's confidence, his faith, and his optimism.

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Those qualities defined Senator STENNIS' outlook on life. On his Senate desk he kept a plaque that simply read: “Look Ahead."

“That's my philosophy,” he explained. Don't waste time lamenting the past. “You have got to look ahead. I realize that life's not altogether what you make it. But that's part of it, what you make it yourself.”

Senator STENNIS made for himself a wonderful life, and the Senate and the country can be grateful for it.

When he retired from the Senate in January 1989, Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd called it "the end of an era.” And indeed it was.

Perhaps a greater compliment came from a Republican Member of Congress from Mississippi, who said, “We'll miss him. Even if he's a Democrat, he's a great man.”

As the Senate Democratic leader, I say that is a great statement, even from a Republican.

In 1988, Congress established the John C. Stennis Center for Public Service Training at Mississippi State University. The center covers a range of historical projects, including an excellent oral history program. When a congressional historian approached him about an oral history of his own life and career, Senator STENNIS initially opposed the idea, saying it would be too self-aggrandizing. The historian proceeded to explain that it was not only an honor, it was his duty to record for posterity his personal account of the historic events and decisions in which he had been involved.

"Well, sir," responded Senator STENNIS, “If you say its my duty, then I must do it, because I've always done my duty.”

It was not only his legislative accomplishments—and they were many—for which we so loved and remember him, it was also his commitment to God and country.

No person who has ever served in the U.S. Senate was ever quicker to tell you what was wrong with this country. But no person was ever quicker to tell you what was right about it, either.

Mr. President, Linda and I extend our most heartfelt condolences to the family of JOHN C. STENNIS: We share their grief and their loss. But we also thank them for sharing him with us, and I thank the people of Mississippi for selecting him to serve in the Senate for seven terms.

Mr. President, I yield the floor.

Mr. BYRD. Mr. President once again, the silver cord has been loosened and the golden bowl has been broken: “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit

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