(Transcript of Eulogy
by Mayor LaGuardia on Radio New York 10
the Mayor of the city of New York, the Honorable F.H.
been honored and been asked to read a tribute to a
great American, Nikola Tesla, written by another great American, Lewis
Adaleigh, both natives of what we know as Yugoslavia but coming from different
parts. They were friends.
Thursday night here in our city of New York, a man
who was 87 years of age died in his humble hotel room. His name was Nikola
Tesla. He died in poverty, but he was one of the most useful and successful men
who ever lived. His achievements were great and are becoming greater as time
goes on. Nikola Tesla could have amassed hundreds of millions of dollars, could
have become the richest man in the country, in the world, if he wished for
riches. He didn't. He did not care for anything, did not have time for anything
that spelled success for too many people.
Tesla was a great humanitarian, a pure scientific
genius, a poet in science. He did extraordinary amazing miraculous things
during his life among us. He did them simply to serve mankind and for his
services, he did not want anything. Money, he didn't care for it. Honor, who
was anybody to honor anybody else. That was his attitude. Gratitude, he did not
expect or demand. Nikola Tesla did not care to be paid for anything he did for
the human race. He simply functioned according to his natural genius which came
to him in the land of his birth, Yugoslavia, as a son of his mother.
extraordinary man is dead or so they say. The papers
on Friday told he died, his body was found still on the bed in his little hotel
room in this city and the newspapers publish obituaries and editorials
summarizing his life and work and told of his personal habits and
eccentricities. Tesla they say is dead. In a funeral parlor in this city there
is all that is left of his person. The funeral services will be held on next
Tuesday afternoon at 4:00 in the Cathedral of Saint John. People will come.
Yes, many people, people from all walks of life, humble unknown people and
people who are famous scientists and industrialists and others and then we'll
be all right. It is a customary thing to do, but Tesla is not dead.
is not really dead. Only his poor wasted body has been
stilled. The real, the important part of Tesla lives in his achievement which
is great, almost beyond calculation, an integral part of our civilization, of
our daily lives, of our current war effort. Today, we, on this program, do not
mourn Tesla. We do not honor him for we know that Nikola Tesla would not care
for that. Why mourn Tesla? His life is a triumph. We are in the studio today
just thinking of Tesla, talking of him among ourselves and to you who are
listening to us, and we are playing some music and can sing a few songs which
will think Nikola Tesla would have liked.
his achievement on earth, his great triumph
which is our triumph, the triumph of all the people of the world. We celebrate
his contributions to our life, to the sum total of civilization and human
potentialities to Americans everywhere which will be as permanent as man
himself. We are talking about Nikola Tesla, celebrating the fact that we belong
to the same species to which he belonged while he was among us. He is a feather
in the cap of the whole human race and Yugoslavia and America can be proud of
years ago, a fellow scientist of Tesla, Dr. A.B. Baron,
also an American, wrote about him in his book on the induction motor, the motor
which owes its existence to Tesla and which, now, is in the very center of
nearly everything that moves on wheels in this country. Mr. Baron said were we
to eliminate from our industrial world the result of Tela's work, the wheels of
industry would cease to turn and our electric trains and cars would stop, our
towns would be dark, our mills and factories dead. So far reaching is his work
that it has become the warp and whoop of industry. Should Tela's work be
suddenly withdrawn, darkness would prevail and we would slump into darkness.
is true, Tesla is not dead. He is very much alive among
us. Among us is a triumph of his life, his achievement which we celebrate here.
We do not honor him. We are gathered here to feel this triumph of one human
life and to share our feelings with you all.
Tesla was a man of the future, always thinking ahead
of his time. He predicted interplanetary communication and death rays that
would make America impregnable from land, air and sea and war impossible.
years ago, he announced that he was working on a new
cube that would produce radium for as little as one dollar a pound. That's
fantastic. Fantastic? Unbelievable, impossible, that's what they said when
Nikola Tesla predicted the advent of the radio many years before Marconi
actually devised a workable radio. Tesla prophesized, some day we shall be as
familiar with transmission of intelligence without wires and some day we shall
transmit power without using wires.