I WANT TO, on behalf of all the people of the United States, express our great appreciation for this wonderful effort by our fellow citizens. This is really an international effort which Mr. Grosvenor has described, people of Nepal, the Sherpas, and others who were the hosts, the British, the New Zealanders, the Swiss, the French, and the people of the United States.
Even though as Americans we take special pride that our countrymen have gone to the far horizons of experience in this matter-- it is an international effort in which man pits himself against his friend and enemy, nature. And we are very proud to welcome these men here to the White House.
In presenting this award--it has been awarded by my predecessors to other Americans who have exerted themselves in far places, first Theodore Roosevelt who gave it to Admiral Peary--in giving this medal today to the leader of this expedition, I carry on a great tradition which they carry on in demonstrating that the vigorous life still attracts Americans, and also particularly mountain climbing, which is a special form of the vigorous life. So we are glad to welcome all of you gentlemen here and tell you that we followed your actions with the greatest pride, and we are glad to see you all here today. And particularly we are very pleased that you brought with you, as your guests, those who went with you. I think it is very appropriate that they should be here, because they are very much a part of this great international effort. And so we congratulate you.
[At this point Norman G. Dyhenfurth, leader of the American Mt. Everest expedition, spoke briefly and accepted the award on behalf of the 20 expedition members. He thanked the President for the honor accorded them and said he believed it was the first time American mountaineers had been so honored. He then introduced the members, individually, and presented the President with an American flag which had been carried to Mt. Everest's summit by two of the group, Barry Bishop and Luther Jerstad, in their ascent on May 22. The President then resumed speaking.]
Thank you. We will hang this in the White House and then give it to the Archives. That is wonderful. Thank you.
I also see the Ambassador from India and the Ambassador from Nepal here and I wonder if they would come up here. We want to express our thanks to you for your hospitality to our people.