THE PRESIDENT. Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Mr. Chief Justice:
I have a very pleasant duty to perform this morning: to congratulate the Speaker of the House of Representatives on having served longer as Speaker of the House than any other man in the history of this Republic.
And in order to show him that I feel very kindly to him--if he has to be shown that-I had a gavel made of wood from the White House that was used in 1817 to rebuild the White House after the British burned it.
But this is to Sam Rayburn who has served as Speaker of the House of Representatives longer than any man in the history of the Republic, with honor and devotion to his country, date January 30, 1951, and it is signed by the President.
Mr. Speaker !
The Speaker: Mr. President, to me this is a great occasion, for many reasons: to be here in your presence and with you, and to receive this presentation, evidence of your friendship and your trust. I appreciate every colleague of mine and every friend from the Hill, including the newspapermen and photographers and television people, whom sometimes I have a little trouble with. To everyone, from the depths of a grateful heart, I thank you.
This is a great day to me. It means much to me. It means much to my family, and to my friends back in Texas who have so long trusted me by voting for me and making me their Representative.
Here again, Mr. President, again I thank you most sincerely.
[At this point, at the invitation of the President, the Vice President spoke, followed by Chief Justice Fred M. Vinson, House Minority Leader Joseph W. Martin, Jr., and House Majority Leader John W. McCormack. The President then resumed speaking.]
This has been a great day for me. Way back in the early days I tried to get out of the way and let Sam Rayburn be nominated for Vice President. I didn't have any luck, and now I am privileged to present him with this memento of a long term of service. I have had no greater pleasure in any time I can remember.