Delivered at The Heritage Foundation on May 16, 2018, for the E.W. Richardson building dedication.
Well, thank you so much, Kay. God bless you. Thank you for your strong leadership here, and thank you for the incredible legacy that Heritage has had and will continue to have for many, many decades to come.
Good morning, and welcome everyone. Today we’re here to dedicate a new building, but we’re also here to celebrate the life and the legacy of E.W. Richardson, a man who exemplified the greatness of the greatest generation. To thank his family, whose wonderful generosity on behalf of his ideals, has made this headquarters for freedom a reality.
E.W. Richardson, known as Rich, was born in a small farming town of Kim, Colorado in 1921. He discovered the joy of flying at a young age, and joined the Army Air Corp at age 20. Fresh out of college was serving as a flight instructor, coordinating teams of men and later piloting a lead bomber on important missions. During one high risk mission over Europe, he was shot down and taken prisoner by the Germans. As a bomber pilot and squadron commander, Rich Richardson was well aware of the risks he faced and energized by the responsibility to lead his crew to victory.
On February 22nd, 1945, Captain Richardson was flying his 42nd mission, just one mission away from earning the rank of Major, when all of his training was suddenly put to the test. His B-24 Liberator was hit by German flack over Vienna and severely damaged. As the plane became engulfed in flames, Rich took the controls. He held the plan steady as his crew members jumped to safety. Only after the others escaped to safety did Rich exit the plane, sustaining severe injuries on the way out, including a broken collar bone and two dislocated hips. When he landed, he was met by a German officer and taken prisoner. After being interrogated at Nuremberg, Rich spent the remainder of the war in Moosberg prison, one of the largest POW camps in Germany. He and 80,000 other prisoners of war were liberated by General George Patton’s third army on April 29th, 1945.
When Rich left the Army and returned to civilian life, he knew that he would keep flying and he knew that he would never take a moment for granted.
After his liberation and return to the United States, Rich spent every moment living the American dream and helping others do the same. He became one of the top Ford dealers in the nation. He was a compassionate friend to his many employees, a family man, an avid golfer, a quiet philanthropist, and much more.
Mr. Richardson didn’t just do business in Texas, he became part of the spirit and fabric of our state. That’s why I’m honored to speak today to his legacy as the Senator for the Lone Star State, a place that will always be home to the Richardson family.
His belief in giving back lives on in the philanthropic spirit of his wife Barbara and Dr. Patrice Kay Richardson, his daughter. There are few better places to give and to build a better America than The Heritage Foundation. Free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, a strong American defense. These national treasures define who we are as a nation, and they have a vibrant home here at The Heritage Foundation. It is only right that this brand new building bares the name of a man who truly represented these ideals.
Barbara, Patrice, on behalf of all the patriots here and across the nation, and behalf of the members of The Heritage Foundation, we thank you for your father’s legacy and sharing it with the world. This new building will house interns, will train interns, young men and young women just starting their careers, coming to Washington to learn how to fight for freedom. To learn how to fight effectively for freedom. To learn how to win.
It’s worth pausing to reflect for a moment, to look forward and imagine 10 years from now, 20 years from now, 30 years from now, 50 years from now: the leaders who will have come through this program who will have started learning about the principles of liberty, learning about the constitution, learning about what makes America free and great, and then what they will go on to do. This is an investment in the future of our nation. It is an investment ensuring that not only ourselves but our children and our children’s children remain free. We are grateful for the generosity, friendship and leadership of this wonderful family. God bless you and we are proud to welcome this new building. Thank you.