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The President's Address to the Employees of the Isthmian Canal Commission - Culebra, CZ

November 16, 1906


There is not much to say because all that I would say is how heartily I appreciate on behalf of the country the work that you are doing. Yesterday and today as I have been going along the canal and seeing the work I have felt more and more a feeling toward you gentlemen and toward all connected with the Canal who are now going along and doing their duty, that they are earning a right to the gratitude of the country such as can normally be earned only by soldiers who have served in the few great wars of history.

I have just the feeling about you men down here that I have in meeting the men who have done well in a big war necessary for the honor and interest of the country that has been carried to a successful conclusion. Next to man's home life the thing best worth doing is something that counts not only for himself but for the country at large, and that is the kind of thing you are doing, and I hope that the spirit already here will grow even greater such as will make each man identify himself with this work and do it in such shape that in the future it will only be necessary to say of any man "He was connected with the digging of the Panama Canal" to confer the patent of nobility upon that man. In other words just as we think of those who fought valiantly in the Civil War we feel that he is a man who does not have to explain his part in the work of civilization, and it is a great work and I feel that this is what you have earned. What he has done explains itself. Now that is exactly what we will have the right to say. That man did his full duty, because he was connected honorably and in good faith with the greatest feat of the kind ever performed in America, the greatest feat ever performed by any nation in the history of the world. Now good-bye and good luck. You seem a straight-out set of Americans and I am mightly proud of you.

Theodore Roosevelt

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Last Update: October 15, 1998

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