Dingell Honored By Colleagues as Longest Serving

Image: Dingell Honored By Colleagues as Longest Serving Mary Wilson of the 1960s group The Supremes sings to Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich. on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 13. Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, watches at left.

Thursday, 13 Jun 2013 11:21 PM

By Matthew Auerbach

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The men and women of Congress put their differences aside Thursday and came together to honor of their own, the Hill reports.

The occasion was the celebration of Rep. John Dingell, D-Michigan, who on Friday became the longest-serving member in the history of the House.

The 87-year old Dingell first came to Congress in 1955 after winning a special election held to replace his father, John Dingell Sr., who died while in office.

The hour-long ceremony was a basically a love fest for a man who was feted even by his conservative colleagues as a politician who has made his mark as a very effective lawmaker.

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, who acknowledged the “honor” and “sincerity” of “a good friend,” referenced the body of work Dingell has amassed over the years.

“A legacy is not something you can conjure up or acquire,” Boehner said.

“A legacy is something that you make.”

Vice President Joe Biden saluted the congressman for his decades-long work on behalf of the middle class.

“So, John, I just came to say thanks,” Biden told the gathering.

The event’s once-in-a-lifetime moment came when, according to the Washington Post, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., joined a group of women including Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to help for Supremes member Mary Wilson sing the Motown classic, “Stop! In The Name Of Love.”

But it was the guest of honor himself whose words were the most eloquent of all, especially when he spoke of the role of the House.

“Like all of you, I'm troubled about the times in which we find ourselves,” Dingell said.

“We have too much ill-will, too much hatred, too much bitterness, too much anger.Congress means 'a coming together,' where people come together to work for great causes in which they all have an important interest. We have, I think, unfortunately, because of the pressure of the times, forgotten this.”

“We’re the oldest democracy in the history of mankind, and preserving something of this kind is very difficult,” Dingell added.

“Our struggle now is to keep this republic. … It is very fragile, extremely so, but less so when we are all together.”

“We are not the masters of this nation, we are the public servants and that's the highest calling of them all,” Dingell said.

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