These were the last reported words of Anton Joseph Cermak, mayor of Chicago, assassinated in 1933 in Miami, Florida, while shaking hands with president-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt. It is believed that the assassin wanted to shoot Roosevelt and hit Cermak instead, and that the legend of the famous last words was fabricated later to show that the two former political adversaries had mended their strained relations.
Cermak was shot in the lung and the bullet lodged in a vertebra. He was seriously ill and died three weeks later. According to his personal physician, however, the wound had healed and the primary cause of death was ulcerative colitis.
Born in Bohemia in 1873, Cermak had defeated incumbent "Big Bill" Thompson in the 1931 mayoral election, ending the Republican Party's power in Chicago. He is considered to be the father of Chicago's Democratic machine, which has held onto the mayor’s office to this very day. After his death, 22nd Street, one of the main east-west streets in Chicago, and coursing at the time through a largely ethnic Bohemian neighborhood, was renamed Cermak Road.
George Dunea, MD, Editor-in-Chief