Herbert Hoover photo

Statement on a National Tribute to Thomas Alva Edison.

October 20, 1931


"The grief of every American in the passing of one of the great benefactors of humanity has manifested itself in the suggestion from hundreds of citizens that the Nation should join in a solemn tribute to the memory of Thomas Alva Edison.

"In response to this universal desire to pay personal respect to Mr. Edison's memory, I suggest that all individuals should extinguish their lights for one minute on Wednesday evening, October 21, at 7 o'clock Pacific time, 8 o'clock mountain time, 9 o'clock central time and 10 o'clock eastern time. It is my understanding that the broadcasting companies will undertake a brief program in respect to Mr. Edison's memory at this moment.

"The suggestion had been made that the electrical current at generating plants should be turned off at these hours, but on inquiry I find--and this is confirmed by Thomas Edison, Jr.--that this would constitute a great peril to life throughout the country because of the many services dependent upon electrical power in protection from fire, the operation of water supply, sanitation, elevators, operations in hospitals and the vast number of activities which, if halted even for an instant, would result in death somewhere in the country. It is not, therefore, advisable. This demonstration of the dependence of the country upon electrical current for its life and health is in itself a monument to Mr. Edison's genius."

Note: On Tuesday, October 20, 1931, Thomas Alva Edison was buried at Rosedale Cemetery in East Orange, N.J. Lou Henry Hoover attended the funeral services.

Herbert Hoover, Statement on a National Tribute to Thomas Alva Edison. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/207994

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