Washington D.C. – Today, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) joined Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (CA-12), Rep. French Hill (AR-02), and President Theodore Roosevelt’s great granddaughter, Joanna Sturm, on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol to plant a white oak tree in Roosevelt’s honor.
“Good morning. Thank you all for being here and thank you French for inviting us. It’s a privilege to be outdoors on the Capitol grounds. Even on a cloudy day, this park is so beautiful. I also want to thank a special guest with us — Joanna Sturm, the great granddaughter of President Roosevelt. It is an honor to have you here.
“When these grounds were redesigned in 1874, the architect decided to use trees to create a setting that focused attention on the Capitol Building. However — our attention is focused on the trees this morning. This is altogether fitting. There are 890 trees on the immediate grounds, including 65 of the original trees planted in 1874. Today, they are strong, resilient, and firmly rooted. But they weren’t always like that. Our forefathers were good stewards and worked to pass them to us.
“In that sense, our nation is a lot like these trees. We have seen storms of crisis, but we weathered them. We remained planted and continued to grow. To paraphrase one French poet, America is an ‘enduring force’ extending ‘to win the sky.’
“Now, we add another tree to this hallowed grove to commemorate Teddy Roosevelt — our great conservation president. This tree is a living memorial — as noble as a marble statue — and it speaks to more than the deeds of a great man. President Roosevelt said – ‘each of us must do his part … to show that the nation is worthy of its good fortune.’ Otherwise, we risk losing treasures as priceless as ‘a gallery of the masterpieces of the artists of old time.’
“Our task is to show gratitude for these treasures — whether they are natural or man-made. We must work every day to preserve them from decay. Our success will be measured by the ability of our children and our grandchildren to enjoy and appreciate them.
“This is only the beginning. Success is by no means guaranteed. But this nation has faced its share of challenges before, and we have always triumphed in the end. This tree is a symbol of past successes and future commitments.
“Let us honor those commitments. Let us remain firmly rooted in our constitutional principles as we weather the challenges ahead. And let us pursue our task like Roosevelt — with spirit and vitality. If we do, we will not fail.”