Ladies and gentlemen:
We are gathered here today for the purpose of presenting the Medal of Freedom to Dr. Charles Lowman. I shall read a citation in just a moment, but it is very difficult on such an occasion like this not to mention the distinguished career of this very distinguished Californian and distinguished American without going into a little more length than the citation itself.
First, he is 94 years of age and in magnificent health, as you can see. Second, in his 94 years, he has been eminently successful as a doctor, but he has devoted most of his time in that 94 years helping other people, free of charge. He is particularly known for his work in orthopedics and, in that field, especially known for his work with young people.
There are thousands and thousands of children, for example, today in California and in other parts of this Nation who are walking who otherwise would be crippled except for Dr. Lowman. There are thousands and thousands of adults who are standing straighter, feeling better, who do not suffer from the various ailments involved in this kind of medicine because of Dr. Lowman's hard work and also his real genius.
He is, as we know, a distinguished man in his field. He will be remembered by his colleagues for what he has written, for what he has said, for what he has done, for his great technical skill. But he will be remembered by those he has helped and, I think, by his fellow Americans by the millions, because he has a great heart. He is a very fine human being, generous with his time, concerned about those less fortunate than he is, and it is this kind of man who deserves the Medal of Freedom, the highest recognition that our Government can give to an individual who is not in the Armed Forces of the United States.
I will now read the citation, and we will present the Medal of Freedom:
[At this point, the President read the citation, the text of which follows:
THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
AWARDS THIS PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL OF FREEDOM TO
CHARLES LEROY LOWMAN, M.D.
A pioneer in medicine, a physician of surpassing skill, and a great humanitarian, Dr. Charles LeRoy Lowman has devoted his life to the service of his fellow man. His good works have enriched the lives of thousands of patients, but none more so than the generations of handicapped children who have been treated at the hospital that he founded in Los Angeles early in this century. The world will long be indebted to this distinguished and noble American.]Note: The President spoke at 11:07 a.m. at the Western White House, San Clemente, Calif.
On the same day, the White House released biographical data on Dr. Lowman and a fact sheet on the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Dr. Lowman responded to the President's remarks as follows:
I can't thank you enough. This is probably the crowning achievement of my life, and we shall always remember it. I can't help but feel that in honoring me, you are realizing the background at the Orthopedic Hospital, and all the hundreds who have been my helpers are the ones who are responsible for much of the results of what we have attained today.
We started in with about $500 and 509 patients, and we moved into an old stable at the Orthopedic Hospital, and we stayed in that stable and held a clinic up until 1929. And we registered, to start with, 509 patients, and I checked the other day and there are pretty close to 207,000 in the Orthopedic Hospital, to say nothing of all the private cases that I have had.
Of course, at my age, I am getting many cases that are 40 and 50 years of follow-ups, which you have to live quite a while to get the types of people I have had.
The most important thing that I call the payoff is the fact that these people--who many of them are adults that I took care of when they were babies and made them walk again, clubfooted children, and then when I realize what they are accomplishing--they are not on the welfare rolls, and they are holding down good jobs and having families and one thing and another, and that is what I call the payoff.
No amount of money can ever give you the satisfaction that that does.
I want to thank you again very much.