Why Osawatomie? This Is Where It Started!
Where Osawatomie High School stands, John Brown Memorial Park spreads out around the John Brown Cabin and Museum Historical Site, and a battle once raged between Free Staters and Pro Slavers on Aug. 30, 1856, history has come full circle.
On Aug. 31, 1910, President Theodore Roosevelt spoke to an audience of 30,000 in his dedication of what we know as John Brown Memorial Park.
Many of those listeners President Roosevelt addressed were survivors of the Civil War, that sadness that enveloped the United States with routes beginning right here in this location.
And in a cabin used by abolitionists, the Rev. Samuel Adair and his wife, Florella, as a safe house on the Underground Railroad.
President Roosevelt told those veterans of America’s bloodiest conflict:
We can admire the heroic valor, the sincerity, the self-devotion shown alike by the men who wore the blue and the men who wore the gray; and our sadness that such men should have to fight one another is tempered by the glad knowledge that ever hereafter their descendants shall be fighting side by side, struggling in peace as well as in war for the uplift of their common country, all alike resolute to raise to the highest pitch of honor and usefulness the nation to which they all belong. As for the veterans of the Grand Army of the Republic, they deserve honor and recognition such as is paid to no other citizens of the Republic; for to them the republic owes it all; for to them it owes its very existence. It is because of what you and your comrades did in the dark years that we of to-day walk, each of us, head erect, and proud that we belong, not to one of a dozen little squabbling contemptible commonwealths, but to the mightiest nation upon which the sun shines.
Roosevelt also recognized Kansas for its own sacrifice:
It was the result of the struggle in Kansas which determined that our country should be in deed as well as in name devoted to both union and freedom; that the great experiment of democratic government on a national scale should succeed and not fail.
Roosevelt’s “New Nationalism” speech came out of a time, not much different than the present day, when Roosevelt felt the need to both recognize the valiant deeds of the past and to call out the evils of his present time like “big business”, and the robber barons of his day, much like President Barack Obama has called for a dialog about corporations doing more to pay their fair share in taxes.
Now, America and the world have been watching as the first African-American President of the United States returned to a place from which a great turning point in American history began.
The President, Barack Obama, had said in a press release, that he would, “…lay out the choice we face between a country in which too few do well while too many struggle to get by, and one where we’re all in it together — where everyone engages in fair play, everyone does their fair share, and everyone gets a fair shot.”
To those who continue to ask, “Why Osawatomie for the President’s visit?” There was no better place for this speech.
Short URL: http://osawatominews.com/?p=1571