Truth Is My Sword Volume I -Collected Speeches in the Public Arena
by Bo Hi Pak
In Memory of Luis Munoz Marin
June 3, 1982
Many men and women have served the profession of journalism, but those who worked for Noticias del Mundo held a special place in Dr. Pak's heart. When Luis Munoz Marin passed away, Dr. Pak grieved as if he had lost a brother. The following expresses his admiration and respect for the family and their abiding love for Puerto Rico. This special commemorative address was given in New York City on June 3, 1982.
Mrs. Munoz Marin, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. Buenas noches y muchas gracias por su asistencia aqui esta noche. That is the limit of my Spanish, so please allow me to speak in English. It is with great pleasure that I join together with you to celebrate this most important and momentous occasion. We come here tonight to honor the memory of a great man and a great statesman, Don Luis Munoz Marin. However, as Don Luis himself pointed out on many occasion, recognition of him was secondary to recognition of Puerto Rican people for whom he dedicated his life.
Luis Munoz Marin was a man of courage, honor and dignity. However, I understand he feared one thing: his mother-in-law! Once, when his life was in danger, he was told to duck down in his car. Supposedly Don Luis refused, saying, "I duck down for one person only-my mother-in-law. I am not afraid to confront my enemies."
Yet Luis Munoz Marin was 100 percent human and he recognized what that meant. One story of him tells of an old man who bowed before Don Luis and kissed his hand. Don Luis asked why he did such a thing, and the man said he had promised God that if Don Luis won the elections, he would bow and kiss his hand. Don Luis told him to proceed because he had made a promise but added: "But never ever bow again before a man or, worse, kiss his hand. When you get on your knees, let it be as you and I are going to do now: to adore and give thanks to God."
Indeed, his humility made Luis Munoz Marin great. A book by Robert Jay Lifton titled Revolutionary Immortality deals with a political leader's fears that after his death he would be forgotten by his people. Luis Munoz Marin was not that kind of leader. Instead he concerned himself with the situation of his people. He was committed to Puerto Rican sovereignty but, beyond that, labored for the day when on the Isla del Encantoisland of enchantment-no child would be without enough to eat; no man would be unable to write his name; no woman would be deprived of her dignity. Luis Munoz Marin was preoccupied foremost with the well-being of his people, and it is perhaps for this reason that his people cannot forget him.
Luis Munoz Marin applied himself to three great tasks. First, he desired to put an end to poverty in Puerto Rico. Second, he wanted to establish the political freedom of the Puerto Rican people. Third, he endeavored to build a better and more prosperous way of life for all of his compatriots. These tasks motivated him, and he was largely successful in accomplishing them.
Example to the Americas
Luis Munoz Marin could have been a national liberator, but he sought first to fulfill the immediate needs of his people. A man with such practical and immediate goals is not usually seen as a national hero. However, Puerto Ricans remember Luis Munoz Marin because of the sincerity of his commitment. Don Luis did not live for himself, and for that reason he is an example to all of the Americas.
The Luis Munoz Marin Boulevard dedicated today recognizes a great man, and likewise it represents an expression of tribute to the Puerto Rican people. We cannot deny their great contribution to this city of New York and to all of the Americas. We at Noticias del Mundo feel proud and deeply moved that we can cooperate in this effort. I want to recognize some of the people responsible for making it a reality. First of all, let me introduce the originator of this project, our own beloved editor, Mr. Jose Cardinali. Please give him a warm round of applause. Second, I want to cite the project's coordinator, who worked tirelessly to make this a reality, our beloved Mr. Hector Ramos.
Also, such a project could not have been accomplished without the support of the Hispanic leadership here in New York, and in particular I want to acknowledge the contributions of two very hardworking and dedicated councilmen. First of all, we thank Councilman Roberto Rodriguez. Second, let us appreciate another man who dedicated many hours of sweat to this project, Councilman Luis Olmedo. This dedication marks an important step forward for all Puerto Rican people. It is appropriate at this time that our city honor the tireless efforts and inspiration of Luis Munoz Marin, and likewise the greatness of the Puerto Rican people.
The recent crisis between Argentina and Great Britain caused a tragic loss of life, but it focused the attention of the entire world on the Hispanic peoples. I believe that Puerto Rico will play a crucial role in the reemergence of the Hispanic culture both as a mediator and as a standard setter.
Today the city of New York has publicly recognized the importance of Puerto Rico and the Hispanic peoples. This is truly an historic occasion. We feel especially honored that on this occasion we are joined here by one very special person, the beloved spouse of Don Luis Munoz Marin. She stood as a source of support for him during some of his most difficult trials, and she surely stands as an example of Puerto Rican and Hispanic womanhood. Let us all rise and give a special round of applause to Dona Ives Maria Mendoza.
On behalf of our founder, the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, and as the publisher of Noticias del Mundo, I want to thank you again for your attendance here tonight. I hope you enjoy this evening's program and I feel honored to share it with you. Viva Luis Munoz Marin! Viva Puerto Rico! Muchas gracias.
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