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Mr. MELCHER. Mr. President, I wish to express my sympathy and condolences to the family of Senator John East. His passing from this world and his absence from this Senate leaves a void.
John East was a man of great integrity, and great intelligence. He will be sorely missed here.
Mr. HELMS submitted the following resolution; which was considered and agreed to:
SENATE RESOLUTION 442
Resolved, That the Senate has heard with profound sorrow and deep regret the announcement of the death of the Honorable John P. East, a Senator from the State of North Carolina.
Resolved, That the Secretary of the Senate communicate these resolutions to the House of Representatives and transmit an enrolled copy thereof to the family of the deceased.
Resolved, That when the Senate recesses today, it recess as a further mark of respect to the memory of the deceased.
TUESDAY, July 22, 1986.
The Chaplain, the Reverend Richard C. Halverson, D.D., offered the following prayer:
Let us pray.
A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold.—Proverbs 22:1.
Gracious God, our loving Father in Heaven, this morning, colleagues of Senator John East will pay their tributes as they express their admiration, affection, and appreciation for a great servant of the people. Passing of time does not diminish our sense of loss, nor dim the profound gratitude we feel for this uncommon man of such immense wisdom and courage, whose life has touched so many with such significant influence. Thank You for Senator East and precious memories of a good man.
As we remember Senator East, dear Father God, we are not unmindful of his loyal and faithful staff in their traumatic loss. Suddenly, without warning, they find themselves not only suffering the loss of a beloved mentor but unemployed as well. We pray for them, thanking You for those who have found work, and praying with loving concern for those who still search. Be with them, bless them, and lead them. In His name Whose love is unconditional, universal, and eternal. Amen.
Mrs. HAWKINS. Mr. President, I would like to express my sympathy to Mrs. East and her daughters, the family, friends, and to everyone who worked with and knew Senator JOHN East. Senator East led an extraordinary life and his accomplishments stand as an example to all Americans.
I remember when Senator East and I were on the Republican National Committee together. He was a very quiet man, but a man of tremendous courage and strength, a man of unusual resolve and courage. Senator East was
man who worked to overcome great odds. Paralyzed by polio at the age of 24, John East did not let this hinder his future. John East trained himself as a lawyer, political scientist, and a scholar. He used his talents to educate young people and to bring enlightenment to hundreds of Americans. John East unselfishly worked as a public servant to give his best to the country that he loved so much. Ailments such as polio and hypothyroidism plagued John East but he never complained about his disabilities. Instead of letting these hardships rule his life, he conquered his physical burdens of illness and showed the world that the human spirit at its best can overcome even the greatest of obstacles.
President Reagan called Senator East a “true patriot” and said that he “loved his country and was motivated by a sense of duty to his fellow man.” Idealism was the great motivator of John East.
He came to the Senate in my class. He came to contribute to the progress of our country. He fought for principles he believed in. He did not back down under heavy opposition. He battled eloquently for his beliefs. JOHN was a gentleman and a scholar. He rarely resorted to flaming rhetoric but articulated his views and defended them even when he was subjected to the harshest criticism.
JOHN East was a lieutenant in the U.S. Marines when he suffered a setback by contracting polio. He then went on to earn a law degree, a master's degree, and a Ph.D. in political science. He was a professor at East Carolina University for many years and earned a reputation as a great author and educator.
I knew many of his students. In fact the week before he died one of his students came to see me and asked could he be introduced again to Senator East. The young man had gone on to become a political reporter for a paper in Florida and said that Senator East had inspired him to pursue that vocation.
In 1980 John East was elected to serve his country in the U.S. Senate. He joined me in pushing for tough drug enforcement. He sponsored legislation to promote economy in Government and sought to improve our judicial system. Among many other things he was also a strong advocate for free enterprise and strove to continue to keep our military strong.
The loss of John East as a friend is a terrible tragedy. This Congress will be less due to the loss of Senator East. I have great respect for his courage, great example, and achievements. The work that John East accomplished in his lifetime will not be undone, and his great example of human spirit conquering adversity cannot and will not be forgotten.
Mr. BROYHILL. Mr. President, I will never forget the first time that I met John East. It was in 1965. At that time he was a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in North Carolina's First Congressional District.
I was immediately impressed with John's very keen intellect and his ability to articulate the issues. He was a man of very firm convictions and, of course, was devoted to his country.
The Senator from Florida has already pointed out his academic achievements and the fact that he was an attorney as well as a Ph.D. in political science, and, of course, it was of great interest to me, a student of political science, that he chose as his profession to be a professor of political science to teach young people about the political affairs of our country and to tell them about his deep feelings, about how he felt. He was consistent in his attitudes and in his beliefs in all the years that I knew him.
I started working with John back in those days as we were both working to advance the political causes in our State of North Carolina. It is interesting to note that in our State there have only been three Republican national committeemen from our State since 1928, the father of former Congressman Charles R. Jonas and my father, and then John East succeeded my father in 1976.
I can recall that when my father retired as Republican national committeeman from North Carolina, his first recommendation for replacement was John East.
The last time that I had a prolonged conversation with JOHN was at a campaign luncheon that was sponsored in my behalf down in Greensboro, NC, on June 4. That was an exciting moment when we had our Governor, Governor Martin; Senator Helms; and our President Ronald Reagan; and Senator East all sharing the head table. At that time John had not only expressed his hope and desire that I be elected to the Senate, but the offered his personal testimony, without notes and from
the heart and in my support, and I will always be grateful for that.
Mr. President, JOHN was well loved by young people and his former students at East Carolina University who had gone to class under him always remembered him affectionately wherever I met them across the State.
He had every year young people intern in his office and I remember reading a letter to the editor which appeared in the Winston-Salem Journal a few months back. The writer of that letter was a gentleman from out of State whose granddaughter had participated in the student intern program in JOHN EAST's Washington office.
At the end of her experience, she had told her grandfather that many of the legislators, in her impression, have been abrupt or demanding or maybe perhaps had had little time to speak and devote to the intern. Her grandfather asked which Senator seemed to be the favorite among the students and after thinking a moment, she said, “Senator East.”
She continued that the North Carolina Senator always took time to explain the legislative process to young people and seemed eager to ensure that they had an enjoyable learning experience.
That is the kind of man John East was. That is the kind of man that we knew and he was our friend. He will be sorely missed.
Our prayers and our love and our hearts go out to his family, his wife Sis in this their time of sorrow.
Mr. SIMPSON. Mr. President, today for a few moments we all will share in paying tribute to Senator John East. That is a sad mission. It is a time of remembrance of this man, a very special person; and his wife, Sis, a very courageous and very special lady, herself—strong, protective, resilient; I watched her with administration in their relationship together.
I think of the John East who was so very excited when he came here to this place, full of life and full of enthusiasm. Bright-eyed, ready for the test, and the testing came early and he proved himself a very tough competitor, and very fair. Indeed, he “hit the ground running" when he came to this place. And he loved it.
His death leaves a great emptiness in all of us who came to know him. He had a deep commitment to public service, despite the obvious hardships he faced. He had, in essence, a very gentle disposition in the face of those same hardships, and that was an inspiration to all of us in the Senate. He wanted to be here.
And so too we are all moved by the knowledge of that long battle that he waged against the polio that afflicted him, long afflicted him, as a young adult and in later life. And we stood in awe of the fierce determination that enabled him to become, first, a respected teacher and then a U.S. Senator.
When you sort out the life of John East, you are awed by what he did for himself, principally, and then for his family, and then for his State, and then for his country. And even in the Senate he remained always a teacher. JOHN EAST was a teacher. He taught us often in the usual and the traditional way of teachers; through a very well-reasoned, well-prepared exposition of an idea presented with clarity and always with a touch of good humor.
I do not know how many saw that in him. I certainly did. A man of good humor.
As he taught us in his way as a teacher, he was always very careful to explain how he arrived at his conclusions. Some of those conclusions I assure you I did not agree with, and we used to talk about that and argue about that—but always with great civility. Whether you agreed with him or not, you always knew that he had given a great deal of thought and effort to presenting his position.
But John East also taught us in another and very effective way, and that was by example, because his integrity, his dogged persistence, his very presence and spirit among us, despite those physical limitations, was an example to all of us. And we are the better for having known him and we have learned much from him.
I think of how he would come up that ramp, up to that chair, into the subway, all with an effort that many of us could not possibly recognize at all. And he did that, often smiling and with great good humor.
So we learned from him how to overcome the things that really are real while we often dabble along in things in a legislative body that we think we are “real” and yet are often very ephemeral and really do not really mark much up on the great score card of life.
And so we watched him. And we are now saddened and a bit dulled by his death, and we seek understanding of such an event and yet that is an understanding which will be denied to us-assuredly it will be denied to us.
I spoke on the day of the swearing in of his fine successor Jim Broyhill about the "why's" of the situation. And we will