Thank you Governor Lawrence, ladies and gentlemen. A few weeks ago a few of our grandchildren visited the Bears’ training camp and I was talking to them about this trip to Canton to participate in the Dedication of Pro Football's Hall of Fame. Somehow the conversation got around to an earlier trip that I made to Canton some 43 years ago when we met in Ralph Hay's showroom-automobile showroom and founded the National Football League. I told them some of the informal aspects of that meeting and among them being that there was a lack of chairs and also that we had to sit on the running board of the car. That prompted my nine-year-old grandson to say, ‘What is a running board, Grandpa?’ I would say the problem of answering that difficult question when my fourteen-year-old grandson said, ‘running boards are those things that you see on those funny, old cars in that television series known as the Untouchables. That little incident demonstrated to me how things can change or disappear until a change remark or a question – a child's question - stirs your memory.
On my trip down here, my memory was stirred back quite a few years when I think of the wonderful men who did so much to develop football in this area and throughout the country. Such fellas like the Nesser brothers, Ralph Hay, Frank McNeil, Leo Lyons, Joe Carr of the Columbus Panhandles, who was President of the National Football League from 1921 to 1939, some 18 years and you may be sure that some of those years were pretty tough. They were the pioneers and this is the land where football set down its roots and here is the Hall of Fame where its history and traditions will be preserved and remembered.
To all of you who have contributed so much to the realization of this Hall of Fame – you people of Canton, Mr. Umstattd (William E. Umstattd of the Timken Company who spearheaded efforts to get the Hall of Fame in Canton), and all the rest of you, – let me say for all the Chicago Bears right from the original Staleys in 1920 down to the 1963, just two heart felt words, thank you!