Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks today at the unveiling of a statue of Dr. Norman E. Borlaug in Statuary Hall. Leader Pelosi celebrated Dr. Borlaug -- "the man who saved a billion lives" -- for his visionary leadership and vital contributions in the fight to end world hunger. Below is a transcript of the Leader's remarks:
"Good morning everyone. God bless America. God truly blessed America with the life and leadership of Dr. Norman Borlaug.
"When we were all together and he received the Congressional Gold Medal. We were charmed by him -- impressed by his modesty. He had climbed the summit of the mountain and taught us so much. And that day, he seemed surprised that he was getting the Gold Medal -- he who had received the Nobel Prize and would receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. But I don't think he would have ever expected that, in a few short years, we'd be gathered in Statuary Hall singing the "Iowa Corn Song.'
"Dr. Norman Borlaug: he was "the man who saved a billion lives,' -- that's a thousand million lives -- the "Father of the Green Revolution,' the brilliant son of Howard County, Iowa, whose 100th birthday we mark today. It's an honor to be here with all of you: the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the Secretary of Agriculture, our colleagues in the House and Senate. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for making this possible. Especially the family.
"He was a self-described "hunger fighter,' who embraced the power of science to alleviate human suffering; who inspired us with his call to feed the hungry, to eliminate poverty, and to deliver hope to all. That call rested at the center of his touching remarks in the Capitol Rotunda, when he received the Congressional Gold Medal. At that time, 93 years young, he spoke of the distance traveled in the fight against hunger -- and the distance still to go.
"Those of us who were privileged to be here for that ceremony remember his inspiring words. He reminded us of a time in the 1960s when "the world said nothing can be done' -- and of how, with his leadership and innovation, something extraordinary and miraculous was done. He shared his story and his experience -- a way of imploring us to never accept an unacceptable status quo; to never allow countries or communities to go hungry when it is in our power to prevent it.
"Dr. Borlaug had seen the tens of millions in Mexico, Pakistan, India and elsewhere in need of food. By his innovations, he empowered farmers to feed nations, so those millions could eat and, therefore, survive. He used the timeless resources of one farmer and one field to feed more people than ever. In this way, he reflected the parable of the loaves and fishes -- a miracle not only about the increase of food but in the increased sharing of food.
"Well into his 90s, Dr. Borlaug still recognized the urgent need to act, lending his voice and his vision, his ideas and his idealism, to the project of feeding the hungry, whether in the United States or in sub-Saharan Africa. Today, the echoes of his call still linger in the need to utilize science to combat the challenges that persist: hunger and disease; poverty and food insecurity; the threat of climate change and its impact on food availability; and the fury of despair worldwide.
"In a statement submitted to the congressional record on the occasion of receiving the Gold Medal, Dr. Borlaug wrote that "world peace will not be built on empty stomachs or human misery.' In this respect, he echoed the words of Pope Paul VI, who said: "If you want peace, work for justice.'
"Few in history did more to fill those stomachs, to end that misery, to cherish and advance justice and world peace than Norman Borlaug. He was a visionary who saw hunger and acted to end it; who saw suffering and acted to stop it; who saw the need for justice and acted to cultivate it. More than others, he heeded the biblical call to feed the hungry.
"We thank the State of Iowa for this statue of Dr. Norman Borlaug. Thank you Honorable Mr. Quinn for your leadership. May it long stand as a tribute to your great state and as an inspiration to all who yearn for peace and strive for justice.
"We all agreed that when Dr. Borlaug received the Congressional Gold Medal that his very accepting it brought luster to that medal. The very presence of this statue in the Capitol brings honor to us all and to our country. Thank you."