John F. Kennedy photo

Remarks at Fort Stewart, Georgia, to Members of the First Armored Division.

November 26, 1962

General Haines and men of the First Armored Division:

I want to express on behalf of the people of the United States our great appreciation to you for your past service and most especially your present actions during the difficult period of the last 4 or 5 weeks.

Regardless of how persistent our diplomacy may be in activities stretching all around the globe, in the final analysis it rests upon the power of the United States, and that power rests upon the will and courage of our citizens and upon you here in this field. The United States is the guarantor of the independence of dozens of countries stretching around the world. And the reason that we are able to guarantee the freedom of those countries and to maintain that guarantee and make it good is because of you and your comrades in arms on a dozen different forts and posts, on ships at sea, planes in the air, all of you. And there are a million of your comrades in uniform outside of the United States who are also part of the keystone of the arch of freedom throughout the globe.

So I come here today to express our thanks to you. The cause of freedom and your work are intimately intertwined. The danger is certainly not past, but we will continue to live in crisis and danger certainly through this decade. Therefore, we will continue to call upon your services in the future as we have during the past days. I want to express our thanks to you.

Many years ago, according to the story, there was found in a sentry box in Gibraltar a poem which said:

God and the soldier, all men adore

In time of danger and not before.

When the danger is passed and all things righted,

God is forgotten and the soldier slighted.

This country does not forget God or the soldier. Upon both we now depend. Thank you.

Note: The President spoke following an inspection tour of the troops and artillery. His opening words referred to Maj. Gen. Ralph E. Haines, It., Commanding General of the First Armored Division, which had been deployed from Fort Hood, Tex., during the Cuban crisis.

John F. Kennedy, Remarks at Fort Stewart, Georgia, to Members of the First Armored Division. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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