Climbing to Such Heights

by Hudson Phillips

Dan Bunting was a few years ahead of me, but lived at Fort Davis, CZ, and attended the same elementary school in Gatun. He tracked me down via the Brat network about twelve years ago and he left me with a story that needs to be told.

In 1940 Franklin Roosevelt, our President, toured the Panama Canal to inspect the readiness of our defense installations that were guarding the Canal. The men of the 14th Infantry were posted one each side of the road that led from the port of Cristobal to our base at Fort Davis, as a sort of honor guard to protect him during his visit.As the President was approaching in his car, Dan Bunting and a friend were up on one of those Terracotta scalloped roofs about three stories up, and they were clamoring for a good view. What they saw was an entourage of security leading an open car and the familiar sight of the President who was waving and smiling as he was so often pictured in the newsreels. But, suddenly the procession stopped, and people began to look up to the roof where they were seated and some began to point at them. Dan said that an M.P. climbed up to get them, and they were sure that they were in the kind of trouble that could get his family sent home. Dan said that the M.P. took him right up to the car where Roosevelt was waiting. The President cocked his head back and said: “Any two boys who would climb to such heights to see the President of the United States ought to be able to shake his hand;” and, greet them he did.

I realize that this is not a first person account, and that I wouldn’t be able to get it into the Reader’s Digest; but , I am sure that Dan would want this to be shared. I hope you can find a place for it.

 

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