His face adorns Mount Rushmore and his name and picture adorn Elks upper bar, and the accomplishments of the man – considered by many to be one of the greatest U.S. Presidents – certainly didn’t come easy.
Theodore Roosevelt’s lifetime cycle of tribulation and recovery are a great-untold American story! Born a sickly child with a severe case of asthma, Roosevelt often awoke with the experience of being smothered to death. Despite this, he overcame his physical ailments to become an outdoorsy man of nature with robust masculinity. When he lost his mentor and father at the age of 20, he doubled his Harvard studies, graduating with honors. When he lost his wife and mother (11 hours apart and in the same house) Roosevelt escaped to Dakota Territory to operate a successful cattle ranch. When an unusually severe winter wiped out his cattle herd and half of his $80,000 investment (over $1M in today’s dollars), he re-entered politics and public life on the East Coast to eventually become our 25th Vice President and 26th President, serving from 1901 to 1909.
Throughout his life, Roosevelt was peppered with challenges and misfortunes, but each time, he picked himself up, dusted himself off and started all over again, often with more gusto than before.
Perhaps one of the most definitive events happened late in his life: After serving two terms as President and leading an African Expedition, Roosevelt ran, unsuccessfully, for President in 1912. Rejected by his Republican faithful, he ran under his newly formed “Bull Moose” party. Just weeks before the election, while campaigning in Milwaukee, Roosevelt amazingly survived an assassination attempt! It seems a bullet meant for his heart got lodged in his chest, slowed only by his steel eyeglass case and a thick (50 pages) single-folded copy of the speech, both carried in his jacket pocket. His venerable stubbornness and familiarity with hunting and anatomy led him to conclude that, since he was not coughing blood, the bullet had not reached his lung. Therefore, he declined medical attention and delivered a rousing 90-minute speech with blood seeping into his shirt! When it was determined removing the bullet would be more dangerous than to leave it in place, Roosevelt carried it with him for the rest of his life.
As Elks – and American citizens – we could learn a lot from Teddy! Roosevelt’s life was a testament to his core beliefs of hard work, dedication, perseverance, resilience, accountability, and personal responsibility. His most famous quotes still stand strong today:
Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far. — Theodore Roosevelt
If you could kick the person in the pants most responsible for your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month. — Theodore Roosevelt
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. — Theodore Roosevelt
It behooves every man to remember that the work of the critic is of altogether secondary importance, and that, in the end, progress is accomplished by the man who does things. — Theodore Roosevelt
As your Exalted Ruler, I am honored that Bismarck-Mandan Lodge #1199 has a close association with Theodore Roosevelt. Like Teddy, we are strong, resilient, curious, active, caring, and proud of our country!
We hope to see you at the Lodge this fall, as we have a lot of great events and happenings in the works in the coming months; Tap beers in the 1199 Lounge, a Comedy Show, Live music on the Patio and Lodge Floor, a German Food Night, a Women’s Social and a Gun Show are just a few of the events we have scheduled. Details are elsewhere in the newsletter, on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/elkslodge, or our website www.bismanelks.com.
It is my sad duty to announce the death of Ben Ottmar, Elmer Zeh, Pattrick Schleicher, Dwight Kautzman, Stanley Rohde, Barton Fahlgren, Glen White, Orville Fossland and O.S. Sid Soma. May their virtues be written on the tablets of love and memory.