George Halas Enshrinement speech
George Halas Enshrinement Speech 1963
Presenter: David L. Lawrence
Mr. Chairman, and distinguished guests, heroes and friends of football, as a long time National League Football fan it is with great pride that I take part in honoring George Halas who enters Pro Football’s Hall of Fame portholes, a player coach, founder. This finest of all football lives here on the Illinois varsity, a half century ago. Left-end George Halas went on to Great Lakes to play on the historic 1919 Rose Bowl winner. He then organized the Staley Factory team in Decatur Illinois and entered it in the league he helped to organize. The league, the Bears, and George Halas have been here ever since. The factory team became the Chicago Bears, their principal product: Championships, 7 World Titles, twelve Western Division titles, two teams were unbeaten, untied, twice they won eighteen in a row, but not alone as a maker of mighty teams. George Halas has been one of Pro Football’s most dominant enduring forces, he has been the architect. So welcome to the Hall of Fame George Halas. It’s your player, coach, founder, come as you wish; we hail you as them all.
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' 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 chance 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 through 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 were football set down its roots and here is the Hall of Fame were 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, and all the rest of you, let me say for all the Chicago Bears right from the original Staley’s in 1920 down to the 1963, just two heart felt words. Thank you.