... Adlai Stevenson was the most inspiring man I ever met.
The person that I met who most impressed me was Adlai Stevenson. He was Governor of Illinois from 1948 to 1953. After World War II there was a great campaign started by Henry Cabot Lodge, who was a Senator from Masssaacchusetts to have Dwight D. Eisenhower run for president of the United States. The slogan used was, "I Like Ike". Eisenhower was the great leader of the allied forces in Europe during the second World War.
Eleanor Roosevelt, the widow of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, endorsed Adlai Stevenson to run for the presidency in 1952. At that time, I listened to all of his speeches, and was struck by his intelligence, wisdom, and foresight. I knew that he would continue the programs that Roosevelt and Harry Truman had started. He wanted to halt the arms race, and promote economic progress in Asia and Africa. I decided that I would not only vote, but also work for him.
I learned that Adlai's Grandfather was Vice-President to President Grover Cleveland from 1893 to 1897.
During Stevenson's campaign he made a stop in Boston. I was invited to go to the Statler Hotel and then to the suite of Cambridge's Mayor Neville. While waiting for the elevator to come to the lobby, the door opened and out came Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, and Robert Ryan. They were traveling and campaigning with Adlai Stevenson. I remember that Humphrey Bogart was wearing a belted camel hair coat, and Lauren Bacall was beautiful with her "cat like" eyes. Not to be forgotten was the very handsome Robert Ryan.
In Mayor Neville's suite we were served canapes,wine, and drinks. There were about 30 people in the room and everyone was talking about the campaign and Adlai's chances of winning the election. It was common knowledge that he was the better of the two candidates, but we knew it was going to be rough, because Eisenhower was a very popular figure and was also the hero of World War II.
Suddenly the chatter ceased and standing in the doorway was Adlai and one of his sons. I kid you not when I say that there was an aura about him that I had not seen in anyone else. His presence dominated the room. He spoke to each of us and we all wished him success.
We all know that he did not win and even lost again when he ran the second time against Eisenhower, but I remember what he said in his concession speech.
"I feel like a little boy who stubbed his toe in the dark. I am too old to cry, but it hurt too much to laugh".
Adlai ran for a third time against John F. Kennedy and lost again.
He later became the United States ambassador to the United Nations. People will not forget that Adlai was a true statesman.
Adlai died of a heart attack in 1965.
photo obtained from encyclopedia