Wednesday, August 20, 2008

some famous farewells

Below are what are thought to be some last, or near last public words, or what the person thought would be their last public words, from famous people.

I am not entirely sure that these were accurately reported (one of these is the words of a fictional character, but reported they were). Not all of these people are admirable, nor do I necessarily consider their last words inspirational. I was thinking of retiring with something like what these people did but ultimately chose the memoir approach.

One of these 'last word' entries is relevant to what is going on with US DOT in mid 2008.


"Before, I said that I couldn't understand how a man who knew he was going to die stood here at home plate and said he was the luckiest man on the face of the earth; standing here now, I know what Lou Gehrig meant."

Mickey Mantle, June 9, 1969

"Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about a bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth."

Lou Gehrig, July 4 1939

"I anticipate with pleasing expectation that retreat, in which I promise myself to realize, without alloy, the sweet enjoyment of partaking, in the midst of my fellow-citizens, the benign influence of good laws under a free government, the ever favorite object of my heart, and the happy reward, as I trust, of our mutual cares, labors, and dangers."
George Washington, September 17, 1796

"Alas, eleventy-one years is far too short a time to live among such excellent and admirable hobbits." [cheers abound.] "I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."

Bilbo Baggins, midsummer 3001 [middle earth timeline]

"... The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific technological elite."

Dwight Eisenhower, Jan 17, 1961


“ For 16 years, ever since the Hiss case, you've had a lot of—a lot of fun—that you've had an opportunity to attack me and I think I've given as good as I've taken.....But as I leave you I want you to know—just think how much you're going to be missing. You won't have Nixon to kick around anymore, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference."

Richard Nixon, Nov 7, 1962


I have sacrificed all of my interests to those of the country.

I go, but you, my friends, will continue to serve France. Her happiness was my only thought. It will still be the object of my wishes. Do not regret my fate; if I have consented to survive, it is to serve your glory. I intend to write the history of the great achievements we have performed together. Adieu, my friends. Would I could press you all to my heart.

Napoleon Bonaparte - April 20, 1814


As I return home to the South where I was born and raised, I am looking forward to the opportunity to reflect and further to assess -- I hope with accuracy -- the circumstances of our times. I intend to give our new president my support, and I intend to work as a citizen, as I have worked in this office as president, for the values this nation was founded to secure.

Again, from the bottom of my heart, I want to express to you the gratitude I feel.

Thank you, fellow citizens, and farewell.

Jimmy Carter, Jan 14, 1981


My friends: We did it. We weren't just marking time. We made a difference. We made the city stronger. We made the city freer, and we left her in good hands. All in all, not bad, not bad at all.

And so, good-bye, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.

Ronald Reagan, Jan 11, 1989


More than ever today Americans, like the rest of humanity, need a functioning global system through which the world's peoples can face global challenges together.

And in order to function, the system still cries out for far-sighted American leadership, in the Truman tradition.

I hope and pray that the American leaders of today, and tomorrow, will provide it. Thank you very much.
Kofi Annan, dec 11, 2006


"For myself I was never so much enticed with the glorious name of a King or royal authority of a Queen as delighted that God hath made me his instrument to maintain his truth and glory and to defend his kingdom as I said from peril, dishonour, tyranny and oppression. There will never [be a] Queen sit in my seat with more zeal to my country, care to my subjects and that will sooner with willingness venture her life for your good and safety than myself."

Q Elizabeth I, November 30, 1601


Either that wallpaper goes, or I do.

Oscar Wilde, November 30, 1900 [an hour or so before dying]


That was the best ice-cream soda I ever tasted.

Lou Costello, March 3, 1959 (just before dying)


Let's do it!
Gary Gilmore, d. January 17, 1977 (before being executed)


Am I dying, or is this my birthday?

Lady Nancy Astor, May 2 1964 (woke up from deathbed saw her family)


When a man retires, his wife gets twice the husband but only half the income.

Chi Chi Rodriguez (date unknown, probably in the early 1970s)


I'm not a famous celebrity but this is what I said at my retirement party on August 28, 2008 (obviously after I posted the earlier quotes) after my supervisor said some nice things about me (and the other person retiring),

Thank You for Your Interest in the Federal Highway Program

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