Informal Exchange of Remarks in Mantua Corners, Ohio.
THE PRESIDENT. How are you? Your son lost in Vietnam? What year was he lost?
MRS. FRANK LORENCE. Nineteen sixty-nine.
THE PRESIDENT. Was he with the Army?
MRS. LORENCE. Yes. The Infantry.
THE PRESIDENT. The Infantry. Where did he serve?
MRS. LORENCE. The 25th. He was near Trang Bang.
THE PRESIDENT. Oh, I know Trang Bang. I have been there. I have been to that place, yes. I have been there quite often. I went up to see where the Army was. I have seen the Marines at Danang and all the rest, and they are wonderful men, all of them.
You know, we owe a great debt to your son and to all of them like him.
You are his father? Do you have other children? Did you serve, too? Where are your children? Isn't it wonderful that you have these other children and your grandchildren. You can be mighty proud of that fellow. He makes it possible for all others to grow up in a world that is going to be a little safer and perhaps more free from this kind of aggression. That is what it is all about. We wish we could bring him back. We are going to do everything we can to see that it doesn't happen to these boys, and no other boys. Right? That is what we are going to do.
Don't worry about that amnesty. Never. After all---
Mrs. LORENCE. I don't want to feel like he went for nothing.
THE PRESIDENT. That's right. Some boys, you know, a lot of them hadn't made a choice, nobody really wants to go. They give up their lives, but they do it to serve their country, and the few hundred that deserted this country, the draft dodgers, are never going to get amnesty when boys like yours died, never. They are going to have to pay a penalty for what they did. That's the way I feel.
So we thank you for being such wonderful Americans. We thank your son for what he did for this country.
Note: The exchange of remarks took place at 4 p.m. when the President stopped his motorcade to talk with Mr. and Mrs. Lorence after seeing a sign they had prepared indicating that they had lost a son in Vietnam.
Richard Nixon, Informal Exchange of Remarks in Mantua Corners, Ohio. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/255453