Harry S. Truman photo

Address and Remarks at a Dinner Honoring Volunteers in the Savings Bond Campaign.

April 19, 1949

Mr. Toastmaster, George Jessel, Mr. Secretary of the Treasury, Mr. Chairman, and good people who are volunteering, and all those who are being paid, and those who are working, anyway, for this bond drive;

Tonight in Washington, and in the State capitals across the Nation, we have gathered to honor the 3 million volunteers who are leaders in the national savings bond program. These good Americans have volunteered to devote their time and their effort to the sale of savings bonds from May the 16th, when the Opportunity Bond Drive opens, until June 30, when the bond drive ends.

In a few weeks, our 3 million bond salesmen will be joined by another group of volunteers. Two hundred and fifty thousand newsboys will ring the Nation's doorbells, bringing the message of the Opportunity Drive into 12 million American homes. I ask you to welcome these carrier boys to your homes and give them the encouragement they deserve as our youngest and best salesmen. This campaign is an opportunity for them, just as it is an opportunity for all of us, to help ourselves and our country at the same time.

The name "Opportunity Bond Drive" is well chosen. The United States has always been a land of opportunity, and this bond drive will help to keep it a land of opportunity.

From the very start, the buyers of United States savings bonds have been purchasing opportunity with every bond. They have been buying the opportunity to thrive and prosper. They have been buying hope-new homes--a chance to go into business-a chance to buy a farm--to face the years ahead with confidence and security. Every bond they have bought has given them that much more reason to feel secure about the future--their own and their country's.

We know that we cannot have a sound and secure Nation unless security is the common possession of all our people. Farmer, factory worker, banker, merchant, schoolteacher, housewife--all are buying security for themselves and for each other when they buy savings bonds.

Savings bonds mean more than freedom from financial worries. They signify that the owner is an active participant in the affairs of his Government, as every citizen should be. A savings bond is your certificate that you have a share in your country. And when a great many people own those certificates, it makes this a better country.

Today there are $48 billion worth of savings bonds in the hands of individuals-folks in little towns, on farms, in great metropolitan areas. Think of what this means in terms of your own hometown. Think how the savings bonds owned by your friends and neighbors can help them meet personal emergencies that may lie ahead. Think of the new homes this money will build--the youngsters who will be sent through school--the men and women whose later years will be made happier because some part of this $48 billion is theirs.

These billions of dollars in bonds are an assurance of the well-being of our Nation and of the happiness for our people. That assurance will be increased by the success of the Opportunity Bond Drive.

To all of you volunteers who will carry this drive over the top, I bring the heartfelt thanks of your countrymen. The job ahead of you is a big one. It will take all the effort that each of you can give. I know that you will undertake this task with the enthusiasm and the determination which mark your devotion to the public good.

We have a White House Correspondents' Association presided over by Mr. Ross, and I promised Mr. Ross faithfully that my remarks would be confined to the manuscript, which I have just read.

I know this, though, that if that beautiful young lady, Miss Jane Pickens, would sing on the radio for this bond drive, it would sell a great many more bonds--I know it would sell me a lot more than listening to me speak.

I am glad you picked out a covered wagon for the Opportunity Bond Drive. They used to make these covered wagons in Independence. They made some in New York, some in Wisconsin, and a few in St. Louis, but they made most of these wagons that started out across the western plains in the 1840's and 1850's in Independence and Westport, which is now part of Kansas City. Kansas City is a suburb of Independence, as you know. And those wagons took the pioneers through to open up the West.

I was told once that when the Comstock gold was discovered, one old miner, with $40,000 worth of gold that he didn't know what to do with, went to the Palace Hotel in San Francisco and ate $40 worth of fried eggs in 20 days. Now the Palace Hotel sends us this covered wagon made of sugar. There was a time in those days when that sugar right there would have been worth $40 worth of fried eggs in 10 days. I am glad that John is going to send it out to the hospital, because I know that those young children will appreciate it, not only appreciate looking at it, but I can visualize what they will do to it when they get their hands on it.

I hope that every one of you will do what you have always done--and I know that you will--put this bond drive over the top in a greater manner than you have ever done in the past. It is necessary that we continue to instruct the citizens of this great Nation that an anchor to the windward is the safest thing they can have in prosperous times, and in times that are not prosperous.

A savings bond endorsed by the United States Government is the safest investment in the world today. There is none other to equal it. We ourselves make that the safest--the people. The citizens of any country are its backbone, and really what make the country great.

This Nation now is making a record in the history of the world, and by your effort to make this engagement which you have undertaken the usual success, we will continue this great Nation on the road to peace in the world, and prosperity at home.

Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 10 p.m. at the Statler Hotel in Washington. In his opening words he referred to George Jessel, toastmaster for the dinner, John W. Snyder, Secretary of the Treasury, and Vernon L. Clark, National Director of the Savings Bonds Division, Department of the Treasury, who served as chairman of the meeting.

Attending the dinner were 400 members of the National Advisory Committee of the savings bond program, including representatives of banking, industry, labor, news media, agriculture, education, and fraternal and civic organizations.

The address was carried on a nationwide radio broadcast. The extemporaneous remarks which followed the address were not carried over the air.

Harry S. Truman, Address and Remarks at a Dinner Honoring Volunteers in the Savings Bond Campaign. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/230177

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