Bob Bartlett
Mr. Alaska
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Excerpted from Acceptance of the
Statue by the Honorable Ted Stevens,
U.S. Senator from Alaska from the E.L.
“Bob” Bartlett Statue Dedication Presented in
the Rotunda of the United States Capitol on April 27, 1971.

Vide and friends of Bob: It is proper and fitting that Bob Bartlett's statue should rest here in the Capitol of our great Nation. Bob belongs here, loved being here, and in turn, was loved by all who were touched by him.

The elevator operators and maintenance men still speak of Bob, their friend, the man who was more than just a Senator. Never self-important, always self-effacing, Bob Bartlett was bigger than life. The fact that a friend's wife or child was ill was as of as much concern to him as the headlines in the morning paper. He loved life, and loved men; and all men brushed by him felt his love and returned it.

A long list of his accomplishments reflect this concern for and love of men. It has been estimated by the Library of Congress that he had more bills passed into law than any other Member in the history of Congress. Bob Bartlett was responsible for the 9-mile contiguous fishing zone, for the inclusion of fish products in the food for peace program, for the Commercial Fisheries Research Act, for the radiation safety bill which sets sweeping safety standards for all radiation emitting equipment from television sets to X-ray machines, and the Bartlett Act, which provides that all federally funded buildings be constructed so as to provide easy access and use for the physically handicapped.

All these bills related to making men healthier, happier, a little closer to the “good life” that Senator Bartlett felt this great Nation should and must furnish to its people.

I had the honor of working with Bob on his greatest dream, the battle for Alaska's statehood. One June 30, 1958, after 14 years of service as Alaska's sole Delegate to Congress, Bob saw this dream materialize. But his work was not done, Statehood was just a beginning. The infant mortality rate, the irradication of TB and ear disease, the poverty of Alaska's native population, the high rate of unemployment and the vulnerability of Alaska defenses were the new battles to be fought. Bob once stated that: “If during my service in Congress as Delegate from Alaska, I accomplish nothing other than to assist in some small measure in making sure that TB would never again take so many lives and cause such heartache and anguish, I should feel that my contribution had been worthwhile.”

When on December 1, 1968, Senator Bartlett died, his battle against disease, death, and poverty had been joined but not yet won.

Bob Bartlett saw Alaska gaining its rightful place in the sisterhood of this Union, its people strong and proud, its resources developing, its clean air and water the envy of others. He was not to live to see all the battles won, but knew the fight he started against intolerance and disease and poverty would be won.

Bob's eye has not dimmed for natural force abated for a good man never dies and the ideas he spawns live forever. As James Whitcomb Riley said: “A good man never dies***who lives for you and me – lives for the world he tries to help – he lives eternally, a good man never dies.”

Future generations will remember Alaska's Bob Bartlett and be able to see his likeness in the Nation's Capitol. This fine statue was done by Felix de Weldon, whose U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial has immortalized the flag raising at Iwo Jima.

…Felix de Weldon's works are found in many countries and include statues of many famous persons***George Washington, Simon Bolivar, India's (Jawaharlal) Nehru, Segeant York, Andrew Jackson, and Arctic explorer, Richard E. Byrd.

It was most fitting that a man of Felix de Weldon's ability was chosen to create the Bob Bartlett statue.

I am deeply honored to accept the statue of my predecessor, the late Senator E. L. “Bob” Bartlett in the name of the U.S. Senate. He was and is loved by all Alaskans and all others who knew him. His deeds, words, and inspirations shall never die. When Bob was buried in Fairbanks in 1968 his favorite poem was read. I can think of nothing more appropriate than to repeat it now.

“Under the wide and starry sky, dig the grave and let me lie. Glad did I live and gladly die, and I layed me down with a will. This be the verse you gave: Here I lie where I long to be; home is the sailor, home from sea, and the hunter home from the hill.”

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