Norman Borlaug now stands in Statuary Hall at the US Capitol, a man still at work. He stands in a stylized field of wheat, hat on his head, sleeves rolled up, notebook in his hand, a researcher for the ages.
“The Father of the Green Revolution,” says the engraving on the pedestal of the great crop breeder and humanitarian, etched by sculptor Benjamin Victor.
Norman Borlaug now stands beside Rosa Parks—two great emancipators side by side. Rosa Parks helped to free millions from racial discrimination. Norman Borlaug freed a billion from hunger.
He took his place among the nation’s icons on March 25, the 100th anniversary of his birth. It was also National Agriculture Day in America.
It is all so fitting. And especially this: his statue will reanimate his work. How many millions of people in coming years will look at his statue and learn of his accomplishments in eliminating famine from wide swaths of the earth and hear about his vision to eliminate hunger everywhere? How many children will see the statue and wonder “Who’s Norman Borlaug?” and then turn to their parents or their teachers or Google for answers.
Perhaps they will learn that nearly one billion people still remain chronically hungry, that two billion more suffer from a “hidden hunger” of micro-nutrient deficiency, that another billion are overweight or obese, that more than half the people on the planet are malnourished in some sense.
Most important, how many people will look at his statue and take up his challenge to nourish the world?
In Statuary Hall, Norman Borlaug is still at work because his work isn’t yet finished.
Watch a video tribute to Dr. Norman Borlaug:
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