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Public Statements

Mark Twain Commemorative Coin Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. LARSON of Connecticut. Thank you, Mr. Baca of California, and I thank the Hartford-Hannibal connection. I want to thank Representative Luetkemeyer for his tireless work and effort in making this bill possible for the great institutions that both he and Representative Baca have illuminated and to stand here today and talk about the literary genius of Mark Twain and to see the institutions that will benefit from this--and, as Representative Baca points out, at no cost to the American public--enriching Americans all across this great Nation, I daresay around the globe, from the visits at these great institutions, whether it be in Hartford, whether it be in Hannibal, whether it be in Elmira or at Berkeley in California, all of whom will benefit directly from Mark Twain.

I'm glad that we're having a voice vote, because I wouldn't want to put what Mark Twain had to say about Members of Congress to a test here on the floor. But as my good friend and colleague Joe Baca has pointed out, the great works of Mark Twain stand throughout the ages. Of course, there's nary a person who hasn't read ``Huckleberry Finn'' or ``Tom Sawyer'' and, as mentioned, ``A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.'' Well, we like to refer to it as, ``A Connecticut Red Sock in King Arthur's Court.''

But, nonetheless I, would be remiss if I didn't thank Jeffrey Nichols, the executive director at the Mark Twain House in Hartford, Connecticut, and those on the entire board there, who have worked tirelessly to make sure that we are able to perpetuate the great legacy of Mark Twain in his literature, in his humor and his satire. It is a gift for the country that everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy.

Just this last year, the house adjoining the Twain house in Hartford is the home of Harriet Beecher Stowe, and we had the members of the Congressional Black Caucus, who came to Hartford to participate in a discussion about race. Of course, even today, as both Mark Twain and the whole issue of ``Huckleberry Finn'' and ``Tom Sawyer'' continue to come under literary discussion and debate, it also focuses on an important issue that the Nation needs to continue to face, and that's the whole issue of humanity as it relates to how man deals with man and the whole issue of racism. There was no stronger proponent in this Nation than Samuel Clemens. Mark Twain was just incredible in terms of his gift, his literary genius, a great ambassador abroad for this country, and heralded on this shore and all across the globe as a humanitarian, and we are so proud.

I again want to thank Representative Luetkemeyer for his efforts to make this possible. I know that in Hartford and in Hannibal, Elmira, and Berkeley, people are very pleased that this will continue to benefit them and allow this great treasure in this great person of literature, American literature, to continue to enjoy the vast reputation and legacy that all Americans ought to enjoy.

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