WASHINGTON, DC – Leaders of the U.S. House & Senate unveiled a statue of Dr. Norman E. Borlaug of Iowa today at a dedication ceremony in National Statuary Hall. Following are House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) remarks opening the ceremony, as prepared for delivery:
“Good morning. Let me thank all of you for being here today. You know, my buddy Tom Latham has been telling me about this project for years now. I know many people have been responsible for making this day possible … from the delegation to the governor’s office, the statue committee, and of course, the Borlaug family. Iowans aren’t ones for boasting, but today you have good reason to take a bow. Congratulations.
“Every once in a while, someone comes along who truly changes everything. Who fashions the ordinary into the exceptional. Who fills a hole we didn’t even know could be filled. Who makes us raise our eyes from the problems of the moment to look around the world.
“In Iowa, there was such a man.
“On October 20, 1970, Margaret Borlaug woke up to a string of calls from Oslo. It seems her husband, Norman, has won the Nobel Peace Prize. She reacts the way any of us surely would in that situation. ‘Well I’m sorry, he’s out in the field. Can I take a message?’
“Finally, Margaret realizes she better drive the 30-some miles to the nursery where he’s working. She gets there, walks all the way to the other end of the station. Tells him this life-altering news. ‘No, no,’ he says. ‘That can’t be, Margaret. Someone’s pulling your leg.’ And proceeds to go right back to his wheat plants.
“Norman Borlaug’s work fed the world, and – like all the greats – so did his character. His humanity. And now, having embodied the finest qualities of his state, he is called to represent it in the United States Capitol. In the Old House chamber, where Lincoln served, where we voted to accept Iowa into the union. Here will stand a great emancipator for our times, one who freed many from fear and want. Once again gently making us look up from the noise to see the bigger things.
“It’ll be my honor to accept this statue of behalf of the American people. I, for one, think it’ll be awfully nice to have a miracle worker around here. Enjoy today’s program.”