tv The Presidency Ulysses Grant Tomb Bicentennial Ceremony CSPAN September 8, 2022 5:14pm-6:17pm EDT
good morning, and thank you for joining us at general grand national memorial for celebration in leases as grand bicentennial birthday. in 1959 the management of the national park service. was transferred to the national park service and rename it general grant national memorial since then we dedicated on preservative the final rest in place of elise's s grant and his wife julia. by cheering the achievements of ulysses accomplishments during his lifetime as a civilian. commanding general of the union
army and 18 president of the united states as an officer elise's s grant demonstrate the altitude to adapt his knowledge of tactics and strategies to change condition in the field. this superior ability led to ulysses as grand becoming the commander. union army ultimate contributing to the victory and the civil war this themes would witch grant was helped by the american people led to his election to two terms as president of the united states. during his terms as president. grant was dedicated to the cause of african-american rights native american rights for inch policy and public land preservation. as a general and a president ulysses s grant cultivate a lasting positive relationship with the african-american community by his support for immensation the enlistment of
black troops to the union army, they ratification of the 15th amendments as well passing the enforcements act. this relationship with the african-american committed with signified with their substantial contributions throughout the constructions of grant's tomb. today we honor ulysses as grant. this is pretty designed as a mausoleum. continue service as a symbol of the great admiration of a national foreign military hero and president of the united states. now i would like to introduce you to the mistress of ceremony. good morning, everyone. i am very honored to be a part of this ceremony commemorating the birth of our 18th president.
from father matt pollakowski. almighty god creator of humanity and lord of history you raise up heroes among us to inspire us. to live above the common level of life. people who live lives more lasting than bronze. today we honor a man of such stature. commanding general of all the union armies and then president ulysses s grant born blue collar and pricing up from the ranks of the middle class. he had calluses on his hands from farming and selling
firewood. but kept his soul uncalled. from betrayal of business partners the slings of slander and suggestions of impropriety tenacious and battle from shiloh, vicksburg and chattanooga to battles in the wilderness and spotsylvania gracious and victory at appomattox with malice toward none and charity towards all sagacious and governments mindful of the feelings of fellow citizens recently vanquished. continuing to fight fiercely for his four million fellow citizens long wrongs and recently released from the oppressive evil of chattel slavery. result resisting the error and terror of the clan. and of other conniving cowards
who would have undone the good that was one for all? preserving the rights of voting for former slaves and protecting the land of our native nations. he served eight years in the highest public office. ever enriching our country never enriching himself. absolutely devoted to the welfare of his wife and family to the moment of his death. he spent his final days fighting the suffering of cancer. and writing his memoirs to ensure their well-being. after his passing during his whole life. he held up for all to see. duty honor country thank you god. forgiving us this man. at that time in history and for
this opportunity to remember him and honor him today amen you may be seated. thank you father public housing for that beautiful. invocation we won't let the wind stop us today. i like to share a particular quote by grant. that i feel is appropriate given our times today. although a soldier by profession i have never felt any sort of fondness for war. and i have never advocated it. except as a means of peace.
grant tried to move our society forward and that included the expansion of our country. and so i bring forward diana linen representing the great state of, colorado. on behalf of governor, governor jared polis with a proclamation diana is from boulder, colorado where her ancestors were territorial families of colorado with diana. also a member of that society. the berkeley family came to boulder in 1863. diana has traveled 1785 miles to read this proclamation for the 22nd time. so i bring forward now diana lennon.
on a personal note remembering my family my great-great-grandmother lydia huff. nicklin, berkeley. had a descendant benjamin huff and he married ulysses s. grant's sister. my great-great-grandmother is a cousin to the late president. the proclamation is quite attractive. may i now begin? state of colorado proclamation whereas on april 27th 2022 at
grant's tomb in new york new york the national park service and the united states military academy at west point will be celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of ulysses simpson grant the 18th president of the united states and whereas at the centennial celebration of the united states of america at the world's fair in philadelphia, pennsylvania, president ulysses grant announced that colorado would be the centennial state. and whereas on august 1st 1876 president ulysses simpson grant from the oval office in washington dc dc proclaim, colorado to be the 38th state and whereas on july 4th.
2022 the united states of america will be celebrating 200 and 46th anniversary of the signing of the declaration of independence and whereas on august 1st 2022. colorado will be celebrating a hundred and forty six years of statehood and whereas the centennial state of. colorado honors president ulysses s grant on his 200th birthday therefore i jared polis governor of the state of colorado do hereby proclaim april the 27th 2022 as president ulysses s grant day in the state of colorado given under my hand and the executive seal of the state of colorado this 27th day of april 2022 jared polis, governor please note you may
view proclamations from across the united states. on the grant memorial website, may i personally wish you mr. president a very very blessed birthday. god bless america. thank you. and thank you for inviting me again this year. the first grant monument association was formed days after the president's death. former president chester a arthur was its first president? but what many of you may not know? was that richard t greener? first black graduate of harvard and political supporter of grant
served as its first secretary from 1885 to 1892. frank scaturro is the current president of the grant monument association mr. scutorial is an american lawyer historian and public advocate. he revised that association beginning in 1994 and he has a partner of the fisher broils law firm where he handled civil rights and commercial litigation. let's welcome frank sutorial to the podium. well, good morning. on behalf of the grant monument association. i want to thank all of you for being here today to commemorate the 200th birthday of president ulysses s grant a special thank
you to the national park service and the united states military academy for your hard work planning this ceremony. today and for all you do for this site. 200 years ago today a baby who would be named hyrum ulysses grant was born in a small wooden frame house in point pleasant, ohio. it is a distinctly american trait that those who command armies or even become president often begin life. not in palaces or gilded mansions, but start from humble circumstances and advance with the singular potential that this country offers. and grants life's work was service to his country. perhaps it is fitting that due to a clerical error connected with his application to west point. his initials became us. it was only natural that when
the civil war broke out grant offered his services to the union cause he could grasp both strategic and tactical challenges that had proven to be too much for so many union commanders. however, meteoric has rise. he conducted himself throughout with unflinching honesty without backbiting and never resorted to duplicity against others for the sake of advancing himself. his character was a combination of war-like resolve and compassion. confederate general james longstreet wrote that the biggest part of him was his heart. grants compassion and his sense of justice extended to millions who were kept in the bondage of slavery and denied the right to vote based upon their race. upon becoming president. he secured the ratification of the 15th amendment which
prohibited racial discrimination and voting and then secured the law establishing the department of justice five enforcement acts that protected 14th and 15th amendment rights and the first desegregation law of national scope. the general who had crushed the powers sustaining slavery became the president who crushed the ku klux klan. the age of grant was the age of a multiracial american republic tragically a generation after his presidency a new era of jim crow's disfranchisement undid much of his work. but enough of the legal architecture grant helped to build for the protection of equal rights survived to enable the achievements of the civil rights movement of the 20th century. it is past time that we remember him with a recognition long overdue as a founding father of our multiracial republic.
grants presidency had plenty of other achievements in our brief time here. i will mention just one. president grant's successful settlement of a highly contentious dispute known as the alabama claims with great britain established the principle of international arbitration for the resolution of disputes between nations involving questions of paramount importance leading to several organized efforts that promoted alternatives to war. the general who had mastered the art of war became the president who worked to advance his dream of someday rendering war itself. obsolete. to commemorate the memory of general and president grant please join the grant monument association and making two appeals to our elected officials in washington.
first let us mark this occasion by recognizing general grant as the preeminent american soldier that he was with a posthumous promotion to the us army's highest rank general of the armies of the united states as has been proposed in this congress. second this great monument should be completed and it most conspicuously needs a more spacious visitor center that does full justice to the rich life and legacy of the man who lies buried here. surely the government that was saved by his achievements can afford the modest expenditure it would take to educate visitors to this site about a story that too few americans know. to build it tell president grant's story a greater american leader never lived. thank you.
frank i have good news for you. they passed it. he was granted that elevation as of today. so your work. really shows we're gearing up for our keynote speaker. i'm very pleased to have this person speaking to us today to talk about our reconstruction president. and yes grant was our reconstruction president. we are now honored to welcome. this year's keynote speaker, mr. brooks, donahue simpson. he is an american historian where he specializes in american political and military history, especially the american civil war and reconstruction.
the author of several books is best known for the book releases grant? triumph over adversity 1822 to 1865 and the reconstruction president. let's bring forward mr. brooks simpson so he can share with us the legacy of ulysses s grant. good morning. thank you. i would like to thank the national park service and the grant monument association. especially frank's guitaro for offering me this opportunity this morning. as many of you know without frank's tireless efforts to preserve this edifice. we might not be here today. i thank him for those efforts.
most people know if ulysses s grant primarily has the general who had the armies of the united states to victory in the american civil war. that should be achievement enough. for anyone yet there is more to grant than that. on this day we might also reflect on grant's efforts to realize the fruits of that victory and to recall a man who embraced those closest to him. with love and devotion in some ways ulysses us grant found peace more challenging than war. victory not only saved the union and destroyed soy free, but it also secured for him the personal security. he had sought for so long. yet over the next four years grant found himself embroiled in political controversy as he saw to preserve in peace. what had been one and war by
suppressing recalcitrant white southerners violent resistance to black freedom. eventually, he concluded that he would have to set aside his personal preferences. and agree to run for the presidency. as he confided to william t sherman, he had no ambition to be president. i have been forced into it in spite of myself. i could not back down without leaving the contest for power for the next four years between mere trading politicians the elevation of whom no matter which party won. would weave to us lose to us largely the results of the cost we wore. which we have gone through. and accepting the republican presidential nomination in 1868. grant uttered the four words most closely associated with him at this place. let us have peace. the short phrase meant many
things peace between north and south between black and white and then to political chaos and terrorist violence a need to put the past behind into forge ahead. all these desires were encompassed in these for words. he endorsed the 15th amendment to secure the right of suffrage for black men. he's characterized the ratification of that amendment as the death. knell for the dred scott decision. coming from the man who was the last slaveholder to hold the office of president the united states. such statements reminded everyone of just how far the nation had come in a decade. we now appreciate grants efforts on behalf of black freedom inequality even as we note their limits. grant himself wanted to give blacks a fair chance, including economic and educational opportunities. he urged white americans to
treat the -- as a citizen and a voter as he is and must remain. and battled white supremacists determined to prevail by whatever means we're at their disposal. despite grant's best efforts to subdue such violence. it ultimately prevailed heated in part by eroding support for reconstruction in the north commenting on the failure to bring the justice those white terrorists who had murdered upwards of a hundred african-americans and kovacs, louisiana grant spoke bluntly. angrily noting that everyone of the colfax miscreants goes unwhipped of justice and no way can be found in this boasted land of civilization and christianity to punish the perpetrators of its bloody. and monstrous crime a year later
he observed a government that cannot give protection to life. property and all guaranteed civil rights in this country. the great greatest is an untraveled ballot. is of failure he could not be any clearer. and grants went last annual message. he assessed his own presidency in words that reflected both humility and pride. mistakes have been made as all can see and i admit he observed though. he added that he had done his best. failures have been errors of judgment not of intent yet he stood firm with a disputed presidential election complete with talk of violent resistance to the results. threatened to endue the republic he had done so much to save. and he pointed decisive role and staving off yet another national
crisis. as you enter the tomb and gaze down at grant's final resting place. you will see that by his side is his wife julia. the love of his life she was a remarkable woman who always believed in her husband and thought him destined to do great things. his story is also her story. winning her hand in marriage prove that he could be as persistent and determining love as in anything else. he undertook and they had an astute sense of timing. for you see as the courting couple made their way in a buggy to a wedding in st. louis one fine spring day. they confronted a flooded stream water laughing against the bridge. they had to cross. as the young lieutenant prepared to go forward julia looked at
him and declared. now if anything happens remember that i shall cling to you? no matter what you say to the contrary. all right grant replied as he guided the buggy across the bridge without incident. then he turned to her. and asked her whether she meant what she said. whether she would cling to him always. she said yes. mary just a month short of 37 years the grants proved loving companions each fiercely supportive of the other. horus porter recalled how they would look as bashful as two young lovers when staff officers caught them holding hands. and his private quarters. yet ulysses grant could also joke with his wife. as president-elect he hid from her both his cabinet choices and
his inaugural address when he finished delivering his remarks. he kissed julia's cheek as he handed her the manuscript. smiling he remarked. and now my dear i hope you're satisfied. the grants had four children the first two while he was a military service in the 1850s. grants love for julia. his loneliness went away from her his desire to be with his children one of whom he had yet to see. contributed his decision to resign from the army and return to missouri in the hopes of making a go with of it in civilian life. which proved difficult? nevertheless grant took great joy in being a husband and a father doing his best for his family despite these daunting circumstances. these concerns dissipated as he achieved success during the american civil war. even then he wanted his family to be near him his eldest son
fred accompanied him on the vicksburg campaign. and julia sometimes with children in tow often visited headquarters for prolonged stays. the grant's youngest son. jesse recalled that each of grants 4 children thought that they were their father's favorite so much so that each felt a little compassion. for their siblings once the staff officer came upon grant wrestling with his older sons breathing hard with his face turning red. disentangling himself from scrum grant rose to his feet and remarked how you know my weaknesses my children. and my horses here's waiter. the general's only daughter nelly was married in the white house. her father was none too enthusiastic about the match which promised to send nellie a way to live with her husband in england. with a ceremony concluded people suddenly realize that the
president was nowhere to be found. they finally discovered him in nelly's room. on her bed face down crying indulgent and trusting as a father loving and supportive as a husband and coming to new york city. and 1881 to live ulysses us brent sought the rest that had often escaped him. for 20 years it proved short-lived. three years later. the family was defrauded by a business associate of his son ulysses plunging the grants once more into poverty. a month later grant felt the first pain of what would eventually be diagnosed. as throat cancer he determined to write his way out of his predicament. to provide for his family and to tell his own story.
most notably through his memoirs. with mark twain serving as a publisher who saw no need to edit grants pros. even as he fought through his pain to complete his memoirs grant thought of his family. one day he composed the letter to the president of the united states requesting an appointment for his grandson. then approaching his fourth birthday. to the united states military academy at west point a request that william mckinley would honor in 1898 thus allowing. ulyssia grant did's father to become. an army officer in june 1885 the grants left, new york city from mount mcgregor new york near saratoga springs with a general put the finishing touches on a manuscript that still stands today as a standard for american autobiography. the endeavor succeeded in
providing for grants family beyond his wildest dreams. he could not stay to be a living witness to that final triumph. however passing away on the morning of july 23rd 1885 for days there was quite a discussion is where the general would be laid to rest. once more love for family triumph julia explained that among the considerations in choosing grants final resting place, which that she would be able to visit it and eventually be laid to rest next to him. something he had insisted upon. he remembered that it's in his time of need new yorkers had reached out to help. so it seemed appropriate to end his journey here. we today remember the man who served his country so well. the man who more than any other
military man saved the union. the man who is president did what he could to realize the problem of the promise of freedom equality and justice for black americans while seeking reconciliation between whites north and south he did not realize all that he wished and desired. it would be left a future generations. including our own to fulfill that legacy yet we should also remember a man of honesty. integrity and character far from flawless as he freely admitted but always striving to do what was right. in honoring him we challenge ourselves to realize to the fullest. the words inscribed above the entrance to his final resting place.
let us have peace. thank you. thank you so much, mr. simpson. and now we will hear from ulysses grant dietz. great great grandson of ulysses s grant and julia grant he is a trustee of the ulysses s. grant presidential library. at the mississippi state university and he is also a trustee of the society of presidential descendants. so we will now have words from the family member of ulysses s grant.
so when i gave my speech at the rededication of this tomb 25 years ago. it was just this cold and windy. i'm really pleased and i'm really honored to be here today in person. to honor the bicentennial birthday of my great-great-grandfather ulysses s grant and i'm really grateful to the national park service for inviting me back. i'm even more honored to be up here. with general williams and professor brooke simpson and frank i see frank all the time. but professor simpson, especially who's writing on us us grant. i know and admire. it's very august company for me to be among. even if i can claim that i went to high school with brooke simpson. but didn't meet him until today.
but the truth is that the only reason i'm privileged to be up here today. is because of my name? it's an accident of birth. and the result of my mother's affection for her father. that i was given the name ulysses. aside from my reverence and love for you. this is s grant and his wife julia. my name is really all that i have to offer. my name is what makes me part of us grants legacy. and it's not all that much. as we just learned that us grant and julia had four children. the eldest fred was my great-grandfather. ulysses jr. who was known as buck? came next and he and i share a birthday. then there was ellen known as nelly their precious daughter. and the little one jesse the
naughty child who grew up in the white house? these much-loved children gave their parents 13 grandchildren. and those grandchildren produce 19 great-grandchildren? and they in turn yielded 41 great great grandchildren. and that's where i come in. i'm number 40. and now i'm the youngest surviving member of my generation. and i'm the only ulysses. there are two younger ulysses one in missouri and one in france in two generations. below me. that i got the name ulysses was unusual. it was an odd enough name to give a baby in rural, ohio in 1822. but it was even stranger to name a baby that in 1955. unusual names were not fashionable in the 50s.
and ulysses s grant's reputation. was that its lowest ebb by the time i was born. but my mother julia the fourth of her name in the family. was the youngest child of major general ulysses s grant the third the general's third grandson and first namesake all my mother knew was that she loved her father and that i was going to be the last grandson. she and my father agreed to call me grant. to compromise to conformity so i wouldn't get teased in school. so i grew up with nobody knowing that my name was ulysses. and i hardly ever thought about it myself. but by the time brooke simpson arrived at the phillips exeter academy in new hampshire two years after i did in 19 or a year after i did in 1971. i had embraced my name and it was known as ulysses.
of course. i still didn't know anything about ulysses s grant back then. even though i had decided to use my name i had not yet developed an interest in learning the truth about my famous ancestor. and oddly enough my family didn't tell me about him. all i knew about ulysses s grant was what i learned in school in the 1960s. and a lot of that was not accurate. i would remain pretty ignorant for an embarrassingly long time. and therein lies my point. my real role in ulysses s grant's legacy 200 years after his birth. has been enriched by the knowledge. i have gained and can share with others about him his career and his life. keeping ulysses s grant's legacy alive by knowing as much as i can about him. is what i started to do. once i realized that the value
of being named ulysses was not enough. the thing is whatever ability i have to reset represent you this is s grant's legacy on behalf of his descendants is entirely due to the work of other people. including professor simpson sitting here it is through the endless years of research and compelling thoughtful writing of many historians since i was a child. that i have come not only to understand the man. whose name i bear but to appreciate and admire him in so many different ways. i have seen fall mythology shattered by historians. i've seen a centuries worth of misinformation corrected by historians. it has been a source of continual wonder to me to experience the work of all those men and women who were not family and thus had no interest other than the truth. as they resurrected and shown a light on ulysses s grant's life.
and offered me just one of their readers a source of pride that has lifted me up again and again and again. so if you have not done so yet i urge each of you to pick up a book or more than one book about ulysses s grant and read it sometime this year. don't do it just to honor his legacy. do it so that you too will become part of that legacy. in the end it is those of us who remember ulysses s grant. who is greatest legacy? thank you. thank you ulysses. that was a lovely speech. now it's my honor to introduce
lieutenant general daryl a williams. the 60th superintendent of the us military academy at west point. general williams has served in several leadership capacities at tactical operational and strategic levels. he was the battery commander at operation desert shield desert desert storm. commander of the division of artillery first armored division operation iraqi freedom he comes. to us today also as experience as deputy director for soldier comprehensive fitness. department of army while commanding the usa raf he's involved. with operation he was involved in operation united assistance where he was helping to fight
ebola in liberia. please welcome with a nice round of applause for lieutenant general daryl a williams. all right. how's everybody doing? all right. all right. good morning, simona. thank you very much for that kind introduction. i hope in my mom's watching out there somewhere. i'd like to thank the national park service for inviting me to share a few words. about one of our nation's greatest generals and west point's most storied alumni. throughout its history. our nation has been blessed with leaders who've inspired us by their accomplishments and more importantly inspired us with with their example and their character. ulysses s. grant was such a leader. in the words of poet walt whitman he was a man of the mighty days.
and equal to the days. as he commanded the union army during a pivotal moment in our nation's history and later let our nation through a critical period of transition as president of the united states of america. grant stands a day as one of our nation's most noted military leaders. but ironically he originally had no desire to pursue a military career in the first place and only reluctantly attended west point after his father secured him an appointment. but it was in the army and especially in combat where ulysses grant found his calling and his success. he distinguished himself as a young officer during the mexican war serving under noted leaders like winfield scott and zachary taylor who saw in grants the makings of a great leader. in fact taylor once said of
grant i wish i had more officers like him. returning to the army after the attack on fort sumter. he proved himself on one battlefield after another as an extraordinary officer and combat leader. rising to the rank of lieutenant general the first since george washington and then ultimately appointed as general in chief of the armies of the united states. so just what is it about ulysses grant that inspires us? certainly, it's his courage determination and boldness on the battlefield. what clausowitz called a force of will? and abraham lincoln called persistence of purpose. he knew how to shake off adversity and only knew one direction. forward retreat simply was not
in his vocabulary or his nature. he knew what a fight and he knew how to win. but grant was also a leader of humility and quiet action. gracious in victory and cool under pressure especially in the face of adversity and as a leader, he knew the importance of people that wars were not one by generals but by soldiers he knew how to listen to others and he led by example with honor and integrity. he knew the most important ingredient a good leadership. trust and he earned that trust from his soldiers every single day. today's army is guided by a people first mindset and a winning matters attitude and it's fair to say that grant embraced and practiced that mindset more than a century and a half ago.
at the united states military academy, our mission is not only to educate and train the army's future leaders. but also to inspire them. inspire them to personal and professional excellence inspire them to selfless service to nation and to our constitution and most importantly inspire them to honorable service and leadership as members of the profession of arms. we need only to look to the life. the career and the example of ulysses grant as a source of inspiration. for these future leaders as well as for all americans today. certainly because he's a leader of tremendous accomplishment but more so because he is a leader of tremendous character. let me close with this thought for one of the new york's native sons great late general colin powell. what could be more important
than equipping the next generation with the character and competence? they need to be successful. ulysses s. grant is an exemplar of both. and we pause today to honor this great leader and his legacy of excellence. a leader equal to the days who still inspires us today? thank you. and as always speak navy. now we come to our wreath ceremony. please stand to join us as we honor the late ulysses says grant with a formal brief ceremony. the first reef is from the grant monument association?
now the benediction by reverend grant this is an american moment. if ever we needed leadership, we sure do need it now and the example of ulysses s grant and so we come together today. and before we go to the throne in prayer, we have to thank god that we are together in person again. if you think back to the last time that we were here there were people in your life. who were here then and who are no longer with us? and so in a harlem kind of way, we ask that you would turn to the person on your right or on your left. look them in the eye in an american kind of way and say i'm so glad you're here.
into tradition of my faith we say let the work i've done speak for me. the legacy of ulysses s grant provides an example based on principles that he stood for and fought for and so we go to the throne of grace in prayer prayer is not just an empty ritual. it means something to those who believe. our father and our god the god of abraham isaac and jacob we come before your throne of grace as humbly as we know how we come to salute. the work and life of an american hero preferred it not robbery but to stand up for freedom and justice. we today salute his memory and his legacy. with these distinguished speakers who have each brought another dimension to his story. but we also salute those who
stand on the wall to defend our freedoms. and together remember ulysses s grant and what he means to our country right now. and so we remembered that he stood on the principles of justice. one nation under god indivisible with liberty and justice for all bless his memory bless america and god bless each and every one of you. amen. amen, amen you may be seated. i just would like to share that i am most grateful for being here today. this was a wonderful ceremony.
but the great crowd great speakers. and now i would like to bring forward our mom and guile from national park service to also give you bidding comments. on behalf of the national park service and the united states department of interior. we would like to thank you for join us at general grand national memorial to celebrate their best centennial birthday for ulysses s grant. you are welcome to join us for some refreshments which will be provided by the grand monument association. these refreshments are located and the 10th next to the west side of the plaza. side they're also will be book signing and special presentation by our keynotes speaker brooks the simpson.
>> i'm very privilege to introduce and wilson green, it says he is retired. i don't believe that. found a 44 year career as an executive director of someplace. [laughter] serving as a historian and manager with the national park service before becoming the first president of the association for preservation of civil war studies