Greetings Telephoned to President Truman on the Occasion of His 81st Birthday.
MR. PRESIDENT, all Americans feel--as I do--that you have succeeded over recent years in vetoing birthdays. Your enthusiasm, zest, and growing vigor constitute both a delight and an inspiration to all of us older folks.
Your countrymen wish for you a happy birthday today--and many more birthdays to Come.
But it isn't enough for any of us merely to wish you a happy anniversary.
I know that all Americans--and all free men everywhere--would, if they could speak with you now, express gratitude and thankfulness to you for your contributions to the freedom, peace, and security we enjoy now.
You know, Mr. President, it's brought home to me every day, how much this country is in your debt. The kind of courage you displayed at this desk, the forthright way you faced up to the great problems of the times, the firm way you alerted the world to danger--all these exhibitions of leadership are the legacy you left to the Nation--and I might add, to the Presidents who followed you.
You told your fellow countrymen and the millions of people in other lands around the world what the promise of freedom means. And you also let us know what we needed to do to preserve and protect it.
Everything we are doing today are steps in the direction you set, a journey down a trail you blazed. I believe history will record, as I surely declare, that all we are attempting to do stands on the foundation you did so much to put in place.
Every man and woman in this land is so proud and so grateful that God, in His just and wise way, has given you the opportunity to see fulfilled the wisdom of your own vision and the rightness of your own courage.
I think you know how I feel about you, as my colleague, as my friend, and as my leader. Every time I am with you, and talk to you, I come away full of new strength for my work.
So long as men draw their breath of free air, your name will be honored and your achievements will be respected.
And so it is, Mr. President, on this happy day, your birthday, Mrs. Johnson and I speak for all Americans wherever they are when we wish you the best of birthdays and long years of happiness for you and Mrs. Truman.
Note: The President spoke by telephone from the Cabinet Room at the White House to President Truman in the Muehlebach Hotel at Kansas City, Mo., where he was attending a luncheon in his honor.
As printed, this item follows the prepared text released by the White House.
Lyndon B. Johnson, Greetings Telephoned to President Truman on the Occasion of His 81st Birthday. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/241618