U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today delivered a Senate address honoring his friend and colleague, Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., who will retire from the Senate on April 1 after faithfully serving Mississippi in Congress for the past 45 years.
Below is a transcript of Sen. Wicker’s remarks:
“Back in December of 1937, Thad Cochran was born in the little town of Pontotoc, Mississippi, population 1,832. He was born in the delivery room of the Rayburn Clinic. Some 13.5 years later, I was born in the delivery room of the Rayburn Clinic in Pontotoc, Mississippi. Now, during a campaign some years later in 1994, when I was first trying to be a member of the House of Representatives, Senator Thad Cochran and I went around the northern part of the state and told many, many people that he and I were born not only in the same town and not only in the same clinic, but born in the same room – the delivery room of the Rayburn Clinic.
“We thought that was the truth. It turns out we found out later from our moms that the Rayburn Clinic had moved down the street. So, while we were both born in the delivery room of the Rayburn Clinic, that clinic itself had moved. But, it just points out how long Senator Thad Cochran and I have been friends, how long our families have been friends, and how well associated we’ve been down through the years.
“Senator Alexander mentioned that campaign in 1968, and then he mentioned that he was a candidate for Congress in — successfully — in 1972. I was honored as a college student to go door to door for Senator Cochran during that 1972 campaign.
“Yesterday was National Poetry Day, and so perhaps it’s appropriate for me today to quote a couple of poets, the first being Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who said ‘lives of great men all remind us we can make our lives sublime, and departing leave behind us footprints on the sands of time.’
“As Thad Cochran departs the Senate in a few days, I think it’s appropriate for us to reflect, as my friend from Tennessee and my friend from Texas have already done and as others will do, about the great footprints that Senator Thad Cochran will have left in the sands of time for our nation.
“Because of Thad Cochran, our nation’s defense is stronger today. Because of the efforts of our colleague from Mississippi, my senior Senator, Americans are healthier today and will continue to be healthier. American agriculture is stronger today because of the efforts of this ‘quiet persuader’ in the field of agriculture. Our economy as a whole is stronger because of the many efforts of Senator Thad Cochran and, before him, Representative Thad Cochran in the United States House and in the United States Senate.
“I’m just very grateful. We’re all grateful for all he’s done. Senator Cochran acknowledged in his statement about his impending retirement that health had become an issue for him, and it was time to move on. Although that was – I told reporters and I told members who asked me – I said it’s a bittersweet moment, it’s a poignant moment for me to hear such things. These sorts of things happen, and we all face health issues at some point.
“Alfred Lord Tennyson in his magnificent poem, Ulysses, said, ‘Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’/ We are not now that strength which in old days/ Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;/ One equal temper of heroic hearts,/ Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will/ To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.’
“So, Mr. President, I say to my friend Thad that we appreciate the fact that he has been strong in will. And though time and fate have happened to Thad Cochran and will happen to me and to all of us, what abides is the legacy that he’s left of being a quiet persuader, of being a person of accomplishment, of being a gentleman who has made this country and its citizens better off.”
Senator Roger Wicker Press Release