Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Historic Route 66: Bloomington, IL (Part I: Evergreen Cemetery)

The next stop on my Route 66 sightseeing tour: Bloomington, IL.

I have to be honest, by the time I rolled into Bloomington, I was running way behind. There are many more great sites to visit here, and I just hit three "quickies".

First, I stopped at Evergreen Cemetery, which is "home" to the graves of Adlai Stevenson, former Congressman and Vice President under Grover Cleveland (1893-1897). His wife, Letitia Green Stevenson, is also buried at Evergreen.

His son, Adlai Stevenson II, is also buried here. The younger Stevenson served as the Governor of Illinois (1949-1953), Ambassador to the United Nations (1961-1965), and twice served as the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Presidency (1952 and 1956).

In addition to his various posts in government and politics, Stevenson is also remembered for his role in helping bring an end to the Cuban Missile Crisis. On October 25, 1963, he addressed a special session of the U.N. Security Council, forcefully confronting the Soviet Representative. As Wikipedia reports:
He forcefully asked the Soviet representative, Valerian Zorin, if his country was installing missiles in Cuba, punctuated with the famous demand "Don't wait for the translation, answer 'yes' or 'no'!" Following Zorin's refusal to answer the abrupt question, Stevenson retorted, "I am prepared to wait for my answer until Hell freezes over." In one of the most memorable moments in U.N. history, Stevenson then showed photographs that proved the existence of missiles in Cuba, just after the Soviet ambassador had implied they did not exist.
You can click here to read the full text of Stevenson's speech to the U.N. Security Council.

Tomorrow, I'll a recap of my next Bloomington stops: the David Davis Mansion and the Beer Nuts Factory (yes, I said the Beer Nuts Factory).

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