Memorial Tree for Congressman Roybal Planted on Capitol Grounds

March 17, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

A tree was planted Wednesday on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol in memory of Rep. Edward R. Roybal, who spent three decades in Congress representing a Los Angeles-area district.

The father of Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Los Angeles, was also a member of the Los Angeles City Council for more than a dozen years. Elected in 1949, he was the first Hispanic to serve on the council in more than a century.

He died in October 2005 at the age of 89.

A red oak was planted in his honor on the Capitol’s south side.

“In celebration of the centennial of my father’s birth, I can think of no greater tribute than the planting of this red oak tree on the U.S. Capitol grounds,” Roybal-Allard said. “If my father were alive today, of all the tributes he has received, this tree would be among his most cherished, because it is being planted between the House of Representatives, which my father truly believed is the people’s house, and the Rayburn Building, where he spent much of his 30 years in Congress doing the people’s work.

Congresswoman Roybal-Allard (third from left) and family members take part in the tree planting. (Congresswoman Roybal-Allard (third from left) and family members take part in the tree planting. (Congresswoman Roybal-Allard (third from left) and family members take part in the tree planting. (Office of Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard)

Congresswoman Roybal-Allard (third from left) and family members take part in the tree planting. (Congresswoman Roybal-Allard (third from left) and family members take part in the tree planting. (Congresswoman Roybal-Allard (third from left) and family members take part in the tree planting. (Office of Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard)

“This tree will be a living testimony to my father’s work to ignite beacons of hope and opportunity for all Americans,” she said.

Roybal was one of the era’s leading congressional voices on health care, education, housing and jobs policy. He also co-founded the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, and founded the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.

The tree-planting marked the centennial of Roybal’s birth, which coincides with the 40th anniversary of the CHC.

In 2014, President Barack Obama awarded Rep. Roybal the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously. In his remarks at the medal presentation, Obama said of Rep. Roybal, “He left us nearly a decade ago, but Edward Roybal was and remains a hero to so many – not just Latinos but all Americans.”

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