Your rough ride is over
July 21st, 1917
Transcript of the famous “Your Rough Ride is Over” speech given by President Woodrow Wilson at the Lincoln Memorial during the announcement of Theodore Roosevelt’s death
Good evening. We are engaged in a brutal and pitiless conflict with a foe that gives no quarter. That enemy has taken his meaty hand, made an iron fist and brought down that fist upon the very heart of these United States.
Today we are rent by the awful news that America has lost one of its brightest lights, one of its greatest statesmen, one of its finest presidents. Yes, it is Theodore Roosevelt of which I speak. For the first time in history, a former U.S. president has died in combat during wartime. Though he fought beneath the banner of the Union Jack, he fought for the freedoms and democracy which make America, his Fatherland, the land of opportunity, the land of baseball and hamburgers, apple pie and oil wells — things that our poor English brethren can appreciate, but cannot ever understand.
Theodore Roosevelt died as he lived, a leader, a man of reason lit by the lamp of knowledge. It is not with brute strength of arms on the battlefield, which will be his legacy, but thoughtfully bent over his maps, spectacles in hand, for that is where he was when the fatal blow was struck by the cowardly foe. It was his cool, methodical, logical actions we will always think of when we contemplate his final moments, not the throw-away derring-do of the swashbuckler bent on glory-seeking.
It was said to me that out finest ex-President was found in his final repose without a weapon of any kind on his person — proof that his strength lay not in his deconditioned, flaccid and aged muscle tissue, but in his brain fiber, which was firm, vigorous and correct. There was a time that Theodore Roosevelt lifted this country onto his back and dragged it forward with his teeth. We can thank that Rough Rider for that time, but now let us doff our hats and nod our heads in prayer as we say, “Thank you, Colonel Roosevelt, but now your rough ride is over. Go home.” Our heart may be broken, but it still pulses with the lifeblood of this great nation. Theodore Roosevelt would not want us to waver in our resolve, but to use his memory to summon our strength to take every measure required to quench the conflagration that now threatens to consume the entire world. Therefore, let us, in his name, fight on. Goodnight America. God bless you. God bless Theodore Roosevelt. God bless us all.
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Care to read a hilarious account of Theodore Roosevelt hunting Bigfoot? Find it here: https://www.amazon.com/Squabble-Titans-Recollections-Roosevelt-Rainforest/dp/B097X4R4LN