The American Presidency Project
John T. Woolley & Gerhard Peters • Santa Barbara, California return to original document
• Richard Nixon
Remarks of Welcome at a Dinner Honoring Returned Prisoners of War
May 24, 1973

Ladies and gentlemen:

Please be seated, and in a moment you will stand again.

As all of you know, this is the largest dinner ever held at the White House, and that in itself would make it important. I think you should also know that in this great house the most distinguished men and women of the world have been entertained. Emperors and kings and presidents and leaders from virtually every nation of the world have been honored here, and of course, they have honored this house by being here.

But I know that I speak for all of the American people when I say that never has the White House been more proud than it is tonight because of the guests we have tonight.

And our program will begin with an invocation by, I understand, the honorary chaplain, Chaplain [Charles R.] Gillespie [Jr.]. I, incidentally, was wondering if we had picked the right chaplain when we selected him. I was just hoping we could have gotten that one that Patton had that worked out the business so that we had that clear day during the Battle of the Bulge.

But since we can't get him, the honorary chaplain of the POW Camp in Hanoi, Captain Gillespie, will give the invocation, and then the chorus, the POW Chorus, will sing the POW Hymn, which was composed in the camp, and they, I understand, will come up here on the stage and sing it.

So, Mr. Gillespie first.

Citation: Richard Nixon: "Remarks of Welcome at a Dinner Honoring Returned Prisoners of War", May 24, 1973. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project.
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