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A Personal Experience With Teddy Roosevelt

January 07, 1998

Anthony Day's review of the biographical "T.R.: The Last Romantic" (Dec. 19) recalled Theodore Roosevelt's belief that bravery was the highest virtue.

But my awareness of the "real" T.R. came from my grandfather, Charles Henry Barr, who, while serving as mayor of Osawatomie, Kan., invited the president to dedicate the town's new railroad roundhouse. T.R. accepted, and, while awaiting the dedication ceremony, stayed overnight in the Barrs' house. Unfortunately, the rains came with a vengeance during the night, as they can do in eastern Kansas.

The next morning, as the ceremony began, the president was summoned to perform his ribbon-cutting duty. T.R. went to an upstairs window, looked out on the pouring rain, pulled himself up to his optimum height, and said (according to my grandfather), "My very presence here is sufficient." He was right. The ceremony proceeded without him. And T.R.'s legendary bravery was never questioned.

CHARLES R. BARR

Upland

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