Roy Earl Parrish
PROCEEDINGS IN THE SENATE
Whereas, on the 22nd day of July, 1918, Lieutenant ROY E. PARRISH, then a Senator from the Twelfth Senatorial District, was killed in action in France in the great world war, and thus bravely and heroically gave his life to the cause of liberty and justice; therefore be it
Resolved, That the Senate set apart Tuesday, the twenty-first day of January, 1919, at 2:30 o'clock, P. M., for appropriate memorial exercises in honor of Lieutenant ROY E. PARRISH.
On motion of Mr. Harmer, the rules were suspended and the resolution was taken up for immediate consideration, read by the Clerk, and adopted.
CHARLESTON, January 21, 1919.
The hour of 2:30 o'clock, p. M. having arrived, the time heretofore fixed for appropriate memorial exercises in honor of Lieutenant ROY E. PARRISH,
Mr. Gribble offered the following:
Resolved, That the business of the Senate be suspended in order that an opportunity may be given members and ex-members of this Senate to pay tribute to the memory of Lieutenant ROY EARL PARRISH, late member of this body, as a special mark of respect to the memory of the deceased and in recognition of his distinguished public career.
Resolved, That a complete copy of the resolutions and addresses made on this occasion, be furnished to the family of the deceased.
On motion of Mr. Gribble, the rules were suspended and the resolution was taken up for immediate consideration, read by the Clerk, and adopted.
Thereupon the Senate convened in special session for memorial services, in accordance with the foregoing resolutions, and the following proceedings were had:
MR. HARMER (presiding): We will be led in prayer by Dr. Wallace B. Fleming, President of the West Virginia Wesleyan College, of Buckhannon.
Dr. Wallace B. Fleming, President of the West Virginia Wesleyan College, Buckhannon, West Virginia.
We thank Thee for the life of Thy servant in whose memory we are gathered here today, and whose name we honor in these exercises. We rejoice that his life blessed this state wherever it touched it, and that it touched it in so many ways; and we pray that his influence may be perpetuated here in this State to the enrichment and profit of her people. We thank Thee, O God, for his heroic deeds across the seas; that he had his opportunity in the great conflict that has secured liberty and justice for the people of the world.
We thank Thee that America heard her call, and that our men had the opportunity of turning back the tides of autocracy when they had reached the high water mark in those mighty struggles which will be commemorated for thousands of years to come;
and that in ages yet to be, the story will be told how the great nation of the west arose in its might, and how its loyal soldiers came to the rescue of humanity, and how they turned back the hordes of the Huns and secured the liberty of the world. And when that story is told, then shall it be known that such men as our friend in such battles as Chateau Thierry and Balleau Wood and Soisson made life count supremely.
We pray, O God, that the victory secured by the sacrifice of the loyal sons of our State and of our nation may be perpetuated and made secure for humanity by the peace conference that is now in session. To this end we pray that Thou wouldst bless the leaders of nations in their deliberations, that they may secure for humanity permanently that which has been bought by the blood of those whom we loved. We pray for the families who suffered by these great sacrifices. May they be comforted with the solemn pride that their sons have proved so noble. May they remember that after the night comes the dawn, that beyond the snows are the suns of the springtime, that after the darkness is the light, that beyond the grave is the life eternal.
And we pray that Thou wilt keep us all faithful by the grace of Christ until we too shall have done our work and have been received to join those whom we have loved on earth, some of whom are lost a while. These blessings for ourselves and for our nation and for humanity we ask in the name of Jesus, our Redeemer. Amen.
Mr. PRESIDENT: The duty which I am undertaking in this Senate to speak in memory of a late member of this body, who gave to his people and his country his full measure of devotion, and the passing of this brave soldier, to me is the saddest part of this awful and insane war. It seems but yesterday when I could turn to my left in my chair in this chamber and consult and advise with my colleague, the late Senator ROY E. PARRISH. But things have happened so rapidly in this short decade that it is impossible for the activity of the human brain to keep pace with the rise and fall of men, states, nations and world compacts.
As representatives of the great people of this State, today, we hope to do our best, though feeble it may be, in memory of the life and services of this noble man, a wise statesman and a brave soldier. It is a noble custom to speak well of the dead; but if it were not the custon [sic], one could not speak otherwise of this brave hero. He was a tremendous power in this Senate and in this State. He possessed an extremely fascinating personality, with a style all his own, a lover and encourager of youth and a follower of truth. It is a pride to us and a real inspiration to briefly review the life and history of this sterling character.
On the 24th day of November, 1888, in the county of Harrison, and State of West Virginia, a rare, gentle mother gave to this world, a boy, who was christened ROY EARL PARRISH, and in whom nature distilled her finest products, and, later in life, factors developed in him a gentle sense of chivalry, a silken strength of will and a habit of independent thought and action that served him in good stead through life's journey.
We now walk within the shadow of his young boyhood, which was guided by that great strength of thought and purpose which had for its object the building and making of a man to serve some useful and great purpose. We see him endowed with that hope and that great vision of success, which always stood guard and piloted this young ship carefully through all of the many rifts which constantly line the pathway of manhood.
The great guardian hand that guarded the course of this young soul and laid the foundation for the construction in which was to mould this boy into perfect manhood, was inspired and directed by that power which shapes the course and controls the destiny of mankind.
In his youth he was given health to build; he was given strength and vigor to act; he was given a mind to decide; he was given a heart to love, sympathize, respect and to stand by those that are right and the things that are right. We see this young man as he grew to manhood, employing his leisure hours carefully, guarding and inspecting the workmanship, walking about the walls of himself, scrutinizing the work to see that his building and structure had strength, size, dignity and poise, free from weakness that would operate to his disadvantage in giving his full measure of strength to the service of his country.
So carefully did he guard the building of his manhood, that when he was crowned by his majority in life, he was in full possession of the great temple which was designed by the Great Architect. His place in the affairs of men was undertaken early in life, conscious of his duty and responsibility, and among the many noble things done, he planted many a guide post along the road of human progress and lightened the load of human burdens. He moved in that sphere with such excellence, strength and poise and with such a pleasing and personal bearing both in public and private life that the men of his native county in the year 1912 commandeered him into their service, commissioned him under the great seal of public duty, and ordered him to report at the convening of the legislative council of this State as a part of that body which moulds into law the privileges and restraints upon its people, which is the voice of the governed therein expressed.
In the service of the State he displayed wisdom and knowledge of profound depth. He took the world as he found it. Pretty nearly everything in the world had a reason for being there. If it were wrong, he corrected it. If right, he used it to get all possible good out of it. Things once good had lapsed into mere superstitions. Institutions once beneficial had ossified or petrified. Wipe them out or restore them to proper adjustment, to changed conditions. He had no panacea for the world's ills; they were to be worked away by the men and women with the courage to assume the undertaking.
Mindful of his profound duty and his obligations to his fellow neighbors, he responded to their call, put the hope of private fortunes aside and donned the cloak of personal sacrifice, undertook the imposing duty as a representative of a great county and a great people, in the House of Delegates of the Legislature of 1913. As a public servant, in this position, he knew no dictator but his conscience, no guide but his judgment and no purpose to serve but his State. He walked in the rugged road of right and never for a moment wandered from the way to loiter in alluring shades. He allowed no personal consideration to stand in the way of per forming his public duty. Where duty lead he followed, heedless of results, regardless of misfortunes and thoughtless of rewards.
For his proven statesmanship under the commission from his people, in the year of 1914, they again,—joined by the good citizens of the counties of Doddridge and Lewis—called him into further service of his State and gave him a place and a part in the councils of this Senate. It was my honor and my great pleasure to know him; not only to know him but to serve with him as his colleague from the same district in this Senate. He was an able counsellor and a wise adviser on all questions of State. His speeches and opinions, when a member of this Senate, eloquently illustrated the largeness of his ideas and loftiness of his visions. He proved to be a wise and skillful man in the affairs of this government and a man of his stamp does not remain in obscurity. The world needed just such an individual; the world called, and, to the world, for the preservation of civilization, he gave. He had the quiet, methodical industry that worked without undue expenditure of the nervous forces and a smile that won the heart of his fellowmen. He was a model citizen, a faithful friend and a patriot who loved principle more than party; a statesman who worshipped at the shrine of truth, an official who burned incense on the altar of universal good. He believed that the only road, the sure road to unquestioned duty of every man as a citizen or as an official was the exact and punctual fulfillment of every pecuniary obligation, public and private, according to its letter and spirit.
When Senator Parrish was yet a member of this Senate and when happiness and perfect peace and good will to mankind seemed to be most secure; when the hills and valleys of central Europe were sleeping in perfect peace, covered with the budding flowers that were showering the world with the sweet perfumes thereof and decorating the universe; when the happy and contented farmers were reaping the harvest and gathering the fruits and rewards for their labors; when the young, innocent and tender hearts of these countries were amusing themselves among those peaceful hills unrestrained, unrestricted, undisturbed and guarded by that angel of a seemingly perfect peace, and when, to the great grief of the Christian and civilized world, a mighty flash of electricity shot forth from a clear and seemingly peaceful sky which intoxicated almost the entire world and threw it into a seething fire of death and destruction, men, women and children being the awful prey, we could plainly discern that the right of civilization to live and rule the universe had been challenged—the gauntlet had been thrown down. We could see plainly that the sacred principle of right would be superseded by the power of might; that sinners were calling the righteous to repentance; that the power of might was laying the hand of torture and death upon poor, innocent, feeble mankind.
If civilization were to live and not perish from the face of the earth, the hand of death and destruction must be halted. That could not be done except at an appalling price; millions of the flower of the young, noble and brave men of the world must pay the awful price. Who would pay? When the first roll call in the last extraordinary session of this Senate was made, the voice of Senator PARRISH did not respond; his seat to my left was vacant, but true to his past reputation as to his duty to his country, he was then answering to another roll call and that in the great army of America.
Senator PARRISH believed that right and not might should prevail and that it should be accepted as the true doctrine of the civilized world. He was just; he was incapable of putting a burden upon others that he himself would not willingly bear. He did not wait for the burden to fall upon another or others, but he, himself, at once took up the burden and bore it bravely unto the end. He believed that the American flag should follow the American citizens anywhere in this wide world. Where goeth American citizens likewise marches at his side the American flag. He not only believed that this flag should not be insulted but that the rights of an American citizen should not be impaired upon the high seas. He gave himself that these things should not be done. All of these sacred principles were violated—our flag assaulted, American citizens wilfully murdered on the seas by the agents of a government that was seeking by might to exterminate the Anglo-Saxon people. He gave himself that these crimes might be avenged. They have been avenged. All of the wrongs resulting from this mad war will be avenged by the total destruction of the power that made the war and stands responsible for the same. The world's greatest crime and the world's chief criminals who were preying upon civilized mankind, were making rapid progress in the total destruction of the people of this world, save and except their own kin, when many millions—one of whom was Lieutenant ROY E. PARRISH—dedicated themselves to their country's cause, crossed the great water and into a foreign but friendly land with the American army, met the mad and insane enemy of civilization in terrible battle, fought on, night and day, day in and day out, week in and week out, month in and month out, until the 22nd day of July, 1918, when, on one of the battle fields of France, the heroic vigil ended and the brave spirit of Lieutenant PARRISH fearlessly took its flight and joined that great army of America's honored dead. He did as much for his country as any other man could do; he paid as high a price as any man could pay. Why all this great self sacrifice? For you and me, that the many millions of men, women and children of this world may live out their allotted three score and ten, secure in limb, life and property, happiness and in peace. We are sure that he and the many other millions did not die in vain; we know by reason of his services on the field of battle that we are safe and secure. The security that he helped to throw around those of us of his State and his country by reason of the service he willingly gave, the privations he suffered on the battlefields and so bravely endured, has been made wholly secure for us. We are the benefactors of his noble service. We may live out our allotted time and then pass from the field of action, soon to be forgotten by those to follow, but this great defender has made history; the writers of history will give him a place on the pages recording the service of brave and great men of this nation, not only this nation but of the world; this history will live on and forever.
Lieutenant PARRISH came to his death by the enemy of civilization, but though dead he will always continue to guard the title deed of the human race. Every time we erect a monument, every time we do honor to the dead and the living soldiers of this republic, we reaffirm our devotion to this country, to our great flag, to the immortal principles of liberty and democracy and our full devotion to our fellowmen.
We are today giving expression in memory of the great soldier, the noble dead whose sun has gone down while it was yet full day. We mourn the loss of every life in this sad and insane war, and most of all we mourn the loss of Lieutenant PARRISH. Of the millions of human beings that crowd the earth there is not one to take his place.
Mr. PRESIDENT: It is not my purpose to enter upon any extended eulogy of Senator PARRISH. But my love and respect for him impel me to speak a few words on this occasion.
In the ancient days, people believed that no real good thing could come to pass except through sacrifice. That great truth has been recognized through all the ages, and it is illustrated in every page of human history. Thoughtful men everywhere— the men who committed this country to the great war,—Senator PARRISH himself—appreciated this great thought, and when the call came for sacrifice on his part, he did not hesitate. Realizing all that it might mean, he stepped out bravely and firmly, and when his country called, he answered "Here am I. Send me." It was a day, Mr. President, that called for strong men and brave spirits, and well did he respond.
The world was in such a state as men of this or any other generation in history had never faced. Everything that we prized was at stake. Everything that people loved and cherished was assailed. In a single day the whole world was transformed.
It was under these circumstances that Senator PARRISH answered his country's call. He did it voluntarily and cheerfully. He was not compelled to answer, and a less patriotic man might not have done so. But—as has been said in this chamber this afternoon— he was the kind of man who could not have remained out of the struggle under the circumstances.
Mr. President, Senator PARRISH possessed unusual qualities. He was a young man of character and ability. He had winning ways. Everybody loved him. He had that character of amiability that was attractive to people generally, and the reputation he had made as a member of this body and of the House of Delegates was such that I doubt not he would have gone to higher places in the State and in the nation. But, Mr. President, if he had attained all the great eminences in civil life for which he was so well fitted, he could not have attained a position higher than that which he held when he fell on one of the battle fields of France last July. We only live this life for what we can make out of it for ourselves and for our country, and it matters not so much how long we live as it matters what we accomplish while we live.
No man could have done more or accomplished greater things than to have died, as did ROY PARRISH, in defense of his country, and in defense of the freedom of men everywhere throughout the world.
It is difficult to restrain one's language in speaking on an occasion like this. I will not say that he showed the finest example of patriotism that has ever come under my notice, but I will say, and say it sincerely, that I have never seen a finer example, for it could not have been surpassed.
I hope a personal word here will not be out of place. Senator PARRISH came to the Legislature of 1913, as a member of the House of Delegates, at the same time that I came to the Senate. I knew him intimately from that day until the last day of the session of the Senate in which he sat here. We were close friends. During a part of that time party spirit ran high, and cordial relations did not always exist. But with Senator PARRISH they were never affected. We recognized him as a man of courage and of strength, and when he took a position upon any public question, although it interfered with the plans of this side of the chamber, we knew that he was honest and sincere, and we respected him. He was not a man who carried out of this chamber the bitterness or animosity that is sometimes engendered within it. The same cordial relations, I am sure, existed as to all the members on this side of the chamber as existed between Senator PARRISH and myself.
He was a young man, boyish in appearance and in act, but underneath there was granite. I have seen him aroused in this chamber, and when it was necessary to stand up and assert himself and assert his manhood, he never failed.
Mr. President, I shall have to be content with these few words. In all my life I have not met a finer spirit. Now that he is gone, his spirit, I am sure, hovers over this chamber and will continue to do so for many, many years. I am sure we will never forget him. And, in all truth, men like ROY PARRISH never die.
MR. PRESIDENT: I first knew Senator ROY PARRISH at the University of West Virginia. While he was at the University he was known as "Brownnie" Parrish—a term of endearment and affection given him by the students of that great University. As I saw him there, he was full of energy, full of life, and always occupied his proper place in the classroom. He was ready to respond, ready to perform the duties of a student at that University. I saw him, too, Mr. President, in fraternal life. He was active, energetic, making friends, always cheerful, and when I left the University and came to occupy a seat in this chamber in 1913, I found Senator PARRISH in the House of Delegates of that session. In the session of 1915 he came to this chamber, and was here during the sessions of 1915 and 1917. In each session of this Legislature, Mr. President, I grew fonder of Senator PARRISH—I had more respect for him. Indeed, he grew in the estimation of everyone with whom he came in contact. But when Senator PARRISH walked out of this chamber at the close of the session of 1917, there was a bitter, cold and chilly wind blowing around the earth. That wind, Mr. President, was freezing civilization; that wind was freezing Christianity; that wind was absolutely seeking to destroy the freedom of mankind upon the face of the earth. Senator PARRISH saw and realized that cold and bitter wind. He did not hesitate to face it, and when the extraordinary session of this Legislature met in May, 1917, Senator PARRISH was not here, but was in the training camp at Fort Benjamin Harrison. He did not wait. He answered his country's call. And, Mr. President, in answering that call, he climbed the sublime pinnacle of personal sacrifice; he offered everything that free men hold dear, to preserve, protect and defend his country.
He caught the American spirit; he went forth boldly to do battle with the enemies of freedom and humanity, and as he went forth, Mr. President, he went forth with the best wishes of this body behind him, as the journal of this Senate will attest.
Senator PARRISH did his duty. Wherever duty called him, he did it manfully, courageously, bravely. There was no hesitation with Senator PARRISH. And, Mr. President, his end came, I imagine, as he would want it to come—just a snuff of the candle, and he was gone.
Somewhere in France, over the grave of an English soldier there is a marker, and on that marker is a sentiment that comes back to every one of us this afternoon:
And so, Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, for our tomorrow, Senator PARRISH gave his today.
I am proud that it was my pleasure to sit in this chamber with Lieutenant ROY PARRISH. He was an inspiration to me and to every member of this body. There was never any criticism of the acts of Senator Parrish as a statesman. There was never any criticism of Senator PARRISH wherever he stood on any question, because, Mr. President, he chose the right and stood by it courageously and manfully.
Noble, brave, gallant, courageous Lieutenant PARRISH! In the name of West Virginia, I thank you. Rest in peace.
MR. PRESIDENT: I cannot let this occasion go by without reference to a little personal incident in the life of Senator PARRISH, which has been to me the greatest solace in the personal loss which I feel in his death.
As many of the older senators in this body know, Senator PARRISH and I occupied adjoining rooms in the same suite during the last session, where we had those intimate and friendly relations natural to such surroundings. Prior to that, our friendship had been one of years, formed during school days, and extending down through a period of years until we came here from the same locality.
At the time of his death—of which I learned by glancing at a newspaper one morning—there came to me the flash of recollection of a certain incident. On one occasion, Senator PARRISH stepped into my room and handed me a short poem which had so impressed him that he had committed it and repeated it to me on that occasion.
When Senator Fox today referred to the great field of civil life which would have been open to Senator PARRISH had he lived, the sentiments of this poem came back to me stronger than on any other occasion, and if you will bear with me, I shall lay it down to his memory in this body, expressed in what I believe to have been his philosophy in life and so truly exemplified by him:
MR. PRESIDENT: A life has been blown out at early morn; a sun has dropped behind the western hills before noon, and a day has faded into darkness before half its hours were counted.
It is not the length of years that measures the fullness of life, but the fruit it bears. Some men, like trees, yield more fruitage in a single season than others in a score of years. There are also periods of time in which to live, for only a brief span is of greater value to the world than many decades in a less eventful period.
I first met Senator Parrish as a member of this body, and became at once impressed with his manly bearing, his consideration for the rights of others and the honesty of purpose that prompted his official actions. Loyal to his party and a firm believer in its tenets, yet he never lost sight of that great truth that one's allegiance to his State is superior to that of party.
Our acquaintance soon grew into a warm friendship and he often spoke to me of his ambitions and purposes in life. His race of life was swiftly run, but he reached at the end of the journey a field of ripened grain, and gathered it without a single tare.
Senator Parrish's ideas were high and pure, his love for country, its government and principles intense. So high, pure and intense were they that when threatened and endangered by a cruel and deadly foe, he left a home of quiet and pleasure, turned aside from a well-mapped life full of hope and promise, crossed the seas that washed the shores of his native land, and laid down his life in their defense.
He was a warrior brave, true, with an American courage that laughs at danger and is unacquainted with defeat. On the battlefield where ran rivers of blood, with shot and shell everywhere, a hill of flame around him, where death lurked in every weird and hissing sound, he fought that the world might be free, fought that justice might live and democracies survive, and, fighting until weary, fell asleep.
The battle's din failed to wake him. May he sleep sweetly, for he has paid his last farthing to his country's just cause.
Over the field of glory where he rests, his brave comrades have marched to victory, and planted the old flag where, in his dreams, he had placed it.
MR. PRESIDENT: Viewing the awful times through which we have passed, with the wreck and ruin of war on every hand and the memories of their sacrificial dead fresh in their minds, the enlightened peoples of the world, possessed with hearts of human sympathy, have sworn by a Supreme Intelligence that never again shall innocent childhood be sacrificed to the greed of tyrants, never again shall the priceless virtue of womanhood be touched by the polluted hands of the fiends of war.
They have resolved that the nations must respect the rights of one another and recognize the gospel truth that there is a brotherhood of nations, as well as a brotherhood of men, that "right, not might, shall triumph, and the selfish rule no more."
While those of us of older years have been denied the coveted privilege of bearing arms in the great war so gloriously ended, yet we are privileged, and must take our places in the ranks of that splendid army now waging battle for the liberation of the world and the freedom of humanity from slavery and oppression in whatsoever form.
Opposed to us in this last of wars is every crooked nation and every crooked man from all walks in life. The crooked in office and legislation, in politics and church, in the business and the social life have taken up arms. Their weapons are every deceptive and poisonous gas known to the greedy and depraved of earth. These forces, must, and will be overthrown. These precious lives of our sons must not be sacrificed in vain.
May the wreathes that we here offer to the memory of our dead give fragrance to the lives of others, and the resolves that we here make be transformed into actions to lift burdens from the weary, and light up dark homes and hovels.
We are summoned to battle: Will we answer duty's call?
Mr. PRESIDENT: As an ex-member of this body, I want to thank you for the opportunity that you have given me to pay a word of tribute to the memory of the late Senator ROY E. PARRISH. In the great struggle so recently ended, the flower, strength and manhood of this nation has been on the battlefield, waging the fight for humanity and liberty. There, many noble, brave and chivalrous boys have gone to their last resting place, some of whom were very dear friends of mine. But the death of no one has so touched and affected me as that of my beloved companion and co-worker, ROY PARRISH.
It seems but yesterday that I sat in yonder chair as a member of this body and could reach out and touch the shoulder of genial "Brownie" PARRISH, as we affectionately called him. He was ever ready with good counsel. He radiated sunshine, happiness and good cheer, and greeted his friends with a characteristic smile. He was an optimist and was always looking on the bright side of life. Indeed it is given to few of us in a lifetime to have friends like ROY PARRISH.
I think the cardinal virtue of the late Senator was his modesty. As we measure success and achievement in these days, he had every reason to be proud, yet in his bearing and manner to others he was modest, unassuming and democratic. And as life is measured by achievement and not by years, I feel that his family, his friends and his State have reason to be proud of the fact that whilst he lived here but three short decades, there can be truthfully engraved upon his monument: "ROY E. PARRISH—Lawyer, Statesman, Soldier."
Mr. GRIBBLE, presiding.
Mr. PRESIDENT: It was my good fortune to always know ROY PARRISH. He is the third generation of his family that I have known. My heart is full today. My breast heaves with emotion as I hear my brother Senators speak in eulogy of him.
Born in the same county that I was, out in a country village, he very early in life gave his heart to God, became a Christian, and by late in his teens was an official in his church. I well remember on one occasion being in his father's store, and, interested in church matters, conversed with him about the part that his boy was taking in the affairs of God. When he came to Clarksburg he became a member of the First Methodist Episcopal Church, and in its services and business matters he took an active interest. This church has a large service flag on its walls, and his was one of the first stars placed thereon, only too soon to be covered by the gold star which shines in his memory.
While yet in his teens, he enrolled as a student in the West Virginia Wesleyan College at Buckhannon, and in the year 1908, in a class of thirty-six, he was graduated. That class, no doubt, largely through his influence, honored me in giving my name to their class. Leaving West Virginia Wesleyan College he entered the West Virginia University, from the law department of which he graduated in 1910, and on the thirteenth of the following September, before he had reached his twenty-second birthday, he became a member of the Clarksburg bar. From the day he took the oath as a member of the legal profession, he was an honored, respected and influential member of one of the strongest bars in the State of West Virginia. What you have said about him as to his legislative career both here and in the House, every member of the Clarksburg bar would repeat as to his practice of the law if they were here to speak today.
ROY PARRISH was no ordinary boy. He had high ideals and aspirations, as is proven to you by the fact that he was one of the youngest men that his county ever sent to these legislative halls. He came as a member of the House of Delegates in 1912, being elected before he was twenty-four years of age. There was such a pleasant smile on his face at all times that many persons doubted whether or not he was strong enough to represent the great county of Harrison. But it was my privilege to visit him in the House of Delegates and to sit by his side through a day session and through the intermission, and proud was I to go back home and say, that of all the men I met here at that time, I was sure no man had greater respect from his fellow members, or greater influence, than did ROY PARRISH, upon the legislation then being enacted. Here I met some of the strongest men of the State, in the legal profession, who came and consulted with him about matters of State—about the propriety of this or the other measure then being considered. So well did he deport himself as a representative of our county that at the end of his term he was selected by an overwhelming majority, and without opposition in his party, as a member of this Senate.
You have spoken wiser than I can of how he conducted himself here and of the influence he had upon legislation. But I know his heart was in doing something for his country. He was filled with the idea that he lived not for himself alone, but that he lived that humanity might be the better because he lived. While he loved your association here, while he loved to deal with the affairs of State, while he loved the influences around and about him in the Senate, yet he loved his flag and his country more. He was called here to attend an extra session of the legislature, and about the time you were assembling, the call of the country was for young men to defend the flag. The country was very much stirred because of the war and the conditions in which we found ourselves involved.
Largely because of the conditions growing out of our entering into the great world war, the Governor of our State called the members of the legislature to assemble here in a second extraordinary session on the fourteenth of May, 1917. Instead of heeding this call of the Governor, instead of seeking the pleasure of your association in legislative work, ROY PARRISH chose to volunteer as a soldier in the American Army, and on the day you assembled here, he entered Fort Benjamin Harrison, at Indianapolis, Indiana, in the training school for officers. In that school he remained until August 15th, when he was commissioned Second Lieutenant of field artillery.
After a few days at home he reported to Camp Sherman, Chillicothe, Ohio, on September first, and eight days later he was transferred to Camp Sheridan, Montgomery, Alabama. Shortly after his arrival at Camp Sheridan, his ability as a soldier and lawyer was recognized and he was made Assistant Judge Advocate, and served in that capacity until ordered to prepare for duty over-seas. He left Camp Sheridan December 15th, with orders to report in New York city on January 2nd, 1918. In the few intervening days he visited his friends and family at home, leaving for the last time on January 1st, 1918, for New York. On the 14th of January he sailed for overseas, and after three weeks, which must have been stormy, he arrived at Liverpool, England, February 5th, and in a few days sailed for France. After arriving in France, he entered an artillery school established by Napoleon Bonaparte, for special training, and after three months he was ordered to the front with the Sixth Field Artillery, First Division.
He was in the big drive at Chateau-Thierry, that spelled success for the Allies, and defeat and disaster for the German army.
On the 6th day of July, DeLano Andrews, Second Lieutenant, Field Artillery, Acting Adjutant, United States Army, wrote his commanding officer:
"The Brigade Commander directs me to communicate to you his commendations of the services of Lieutenant ROY E. PARRISH, 6th F. A. as Liaison Officer with the Infantry. His reports have been clear, intelligent and full of valuable information. They are models of Liaison work and reflect great credit upon Lieutenant PARRISH'S energy, power of observation and devotion to duty."
Later, G. McDowell, First Lieutenant, Field Artillery, United States Army, Acting Adjutant, wrote:
"Lieutenant PARRISH was sent forward on July 18th on Liaison work with the Infantry in the attack on that date. Nothing more was heard of him, and after the attack, when the regiment reassembled, he was missing. About two weeks later a report was secured by me from the captain of the Infantry who had talked with him for a few moments as they were going forward, and a second later this officer saw Lieutenant PARRISH blown to pieces by a shell."
The finest oration I ever read was short. It was that delivered by General Pershing as he stood with his soldiers at the grave of Lafayette, when he said:
"Lafayette, we are here!"
Senators, friends, father, brother—we can never stand at the grave of ROY PARRISH and pronounce such an oration. His body lies scattered and unburied. No little cross marks the spot.
Methinks that in the years to come, thousands and tens of thousands of Americans will find their way to France to drop a tear on the grave of some boy who died under the stars and stripes for the betterment of the world. But none of us will ever be able to stand at the grave of Roy PARRISH to drop a tear or lay a flower in loving memory.
Our own Major John Bond, who has just returned from overseas, met Lieutenant PARRISH shortly before he was killed in action, and where the German shells were falling all around. Major Bond says:
"ROY PARRISH was one of the most fearless men I ever knew. He was a second Roosevelt—never satisfied unless he was in the thickest of the fight."
The father of ROY PARRISH sits here at my left. Of his five sons, four followed the flag in this awful war—two crossed the seas and two were on the seas. One that crossed never returned. The other that crossed sits here today.
The heart of this father and these brothers and a sister are sad. Your words today, I am sure, are a comfort and a consolation to them.
Brother Senators, knowing this father and these brothers and sister as I do, I know that the greatest comfort and consolation and the greatest hope that fills their hearts today is the fact that ROY has been faithful not only to his country and his flag—for he had never wavered there—but that he had also been faithful to his God, and his soul has a resting place we all hope shall be ours.
Someone wrote as America's answer, to another poem, about those who died in Flanders:
Fear not that ye had died for naught,
The torch ye threw to us we caught,
Ten million hands will hold it high,
And freedom's light shall never die!
We've learned the lesson that ye taught,
In Flanders field."
Mr. GRIBBLE (presiding); The Clerk will now read a eulogy on the life of Senator PARRISH, written by the late President of this body, the Hon. Wells Goodykoontz.
The Clerk read the following communication:
WILLIAMSON, W. VA., January 11, 1919.
HON. JOHN T. HARRIS,
Clerk of the Senate,
Charleston, W. Va.
My dear Sir:
Today's papers say that on next Tuesday afternoon, in the Senate Chamber, exercises in memory of Senator ROY E. PARRISH will be held.
I wish so much that it were possible for me to attend upon that occasion, but an engagement that I cannot forego precludes me from being present.
Whether this is to be an open meeting, or whether the addresses are to be limited to the membership, I am unadvised. Be that as it may, I feel that my association with Senator PARRISH and the friendship that existed between us, coupled with the fact that I had the honor of holding the office of President of the Senate at the time of his death, privilege me in presenting to the Senate a word of tribute to his honored memory.
So far as I can now recall, my first acquaintance with Senator PARRISH dates with the opening of the legislative session in January, 1915. He was the most youthful member of the body—young in years and young in spirit—being then only twenty-seven years of age. Two years later he was my opponent in the caucus for nomination by his party associates to the office of President, and failed of selection by only two votes. Although he was a proud man— and would have been less than human had he not felt the pain of defeat—yet he was a game loser, and came to me with a smile on his face to offer congratulations. Not only that, but as an honorable man, he gave me his confidence and sympathetic support during the sessions that intervened between my election and his induction into the army.
Notwithstanding the office he held entitled him to exemption from military duties, he volunteered for the service and entered the cantonment—one of the training schools for officers—at Fort Benjamin Harrison, near the city of Indianapolis. He was there during our last extraordinary session. Later, in company with the Governor and other distinguished West Virginians, I visited the Fort and there, for the last time, saw and talked with our friend, since departed.
It was almost midnight when our train arrived at Indianapolis, but I had wired the Senator that I was coming, and I found him waiting at the station to greet me. He was sun-browned and had been working very hard—so he told me—and that it had taken a lot of grit to follow the hardening ordeal from early morning to late at night, I did not doubt.
I conversed with him about an hour, when he bade me goodnight, and left for the barracks, some ten miles distant. We had expected to see each other on the following day, but we did not meet. I was informed that he was not present at the exercises for the reason that he was required to be in military training, and so it was that I saw him not again.
Not long after this meeting, Senator PARRISH was ordered overseas, and what a thrilling adventure he must have had, and what a tragic end, but what a glorious death was his! Out on the borderland—the frontier of civilization—next to No-Man's Land—amid the clash of resounding arms—with the skies darkened from the smoke of battle, with the air saturated with deadly vapor, with ear drums vibrating from the roar of heavy ordnance—there with the artillery—there with the flag brought from his native land— there—"in the twinkling of an eye"—his mortal life was extinguished and his body resolved into atoms. Why, and for what, was the life of this young man sacrificed? The answer I give you in brief: He died for his country and for all mankind; he died— as others with him have died—in order that the world might be free and that liberty might not pass away.
What may be said here today are not mere words of flattery, for such could not "soothe the dull cold ear of death," but they are the words of men who have known Senator PARRISH, and who wish to perpetuate his record. Had he lived to return to West Virginia, he would have been honored in life, as he is honored in death.
Senator PARRISH'S untimely end ought not to be mourned. Cicero on "Friendship and Old Age" took occasion to say, "But to my mind, nothing whatever seems of long duration, in which there is any end. For when that arrives, then the time which has passed has flowed away; that only remains which you have secured by virtue and right conduct. Hours indeed depart from us, and days and months and years; nor does past time ever return, nor can it be discovered what is to follow. Whatever time is assigned to each to live, with that he ought to be content."
Cicero held to this comforting philosophy because he believed "the souls of men to be immortal," and therefore it mattered not how long they should dwell on the earth.
ROY E. PARRISH—citizen, lawyer, legislator, soldier and friend— has vanished from our view, never to return, but his good example and the record of his glorious heroism he has left, as an inspiration to us, and to all who may follow.
Lieutenant PARRISH is with the immortals in the Happy Land, for he could say, with Bryant.
At the conclusion of the services in memory of Senator PARRISH, as a further mark of respect, on motion of Mr. Scherr, the Senate adjourned.
Roy Earl Parrish