President Harrison honored by UMass students

By Collegian News Staff

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Students gathered in the Cape Cod Lounge yesterday to honor the life and legacy of former United States President William Henry Harrison.

The event, sponsored by the Historical Leaders of America Club, began with a movie documenting the entire presidency of Harrison. After the conclusion of the 15-minute film, several students gave speeches in honor of the man.

“He was an American hero,” said sophomore Clay Kingsley. “There’s no telling what he could have achieved had he lived for a second month in office.”

“I think our leaders need to be more like Harrison,” said junior Emily Mackey. “They need to be able to risk everything for their country. Harrison did that when he gave his inauguration address in the rain and then got pneumonia and died.”

Some students were wearing shirts or had posters honoring Harrison. One poster had a large picture of the President above words that read “first president to die, last president to be forgotten.”

Club members then reenacted Harrison’s famous victory against the American Indians at the Battle of Tippecanoe. As Harrison, portrayed by freshman Sam Neff, stood victorious after the battle, cheers erupted from the crowd.

Later on, during a reading of his entire two hour inauguration address, chants from the crowd interrupted the speech, as several students jumped on their chairs and began shouting Harrison’s campaign slogan: “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too!”

University Police were called to the scene to detain one individual who took his shirt off and began to run around the Student Union yelling over and over the president’s last words, “I wish you to understand the true principles of the government. I wish them carried out. I ask nothing more.”

Historical Leaders of America Club President senior Henry “Clay” Wallace said that while he did not condone the outburst, he could sympathize with the student’s intentions.

“I think it just says a lot about the kind of man Harrison was,” said Wallace. “His memory awakens a real sense of fervor. I think all of just want to be able to say we’re doing our best to live in the America he envisioned.”

When asked if Harrison was the best president of all time, Wallace said that’s impossible to know.

“We never saw his true potential, that’s for sure,” he said. “But we have no idea what he was capable of doing. The two-term limit hadn’t been established yet so it’s possible he could have been president for 20 or 30 years.”

The club will honor President Millard Fillmore at next month’s meeting.

Garfield James can be reached at [email protected]

Editor’s Note: April Fools.