John F. Kennedy photo

Remarks to Members of the National Council of Senior Citizens.

April 23, 1963

THIS is the youngest looking group of senior citizens! I want to express my warm welcome to you, all of you, to the White House; my great pleasure in seeing my old colleague, Congressman Aime Forand, back here.

I think that this meeting, which is a prelude to designating the month of May as Senior Citizens Month, gives us all a very welcome opportunity to restate our strong support of the concept which was first expressed in the legislation introduced by Congressman Forand and which has been strongly supported in the last session of the Congress in the Anderson-King bill and which is strongly supported by this administration, and particularly by me, which is medical care for the aged under a system of social security.

We have talked about it now for a good many months and years. It is appropriate because legislation, particularly legislation which is new and important, which involves significant interests, requires a certain period of germination. But I think that period is coming to an end and it is, therefore, my strong conviction that this Congress should have an opportunity to vote on this question in both the House and the Senate and it is my hope when they do so vote that they will vote aye. Eighteen million Americans are involved.

Any other system of assistance to them in meeting their medical problems will be inadequate, has been inadequate, and I believe that the system best in accordance with their desires, fitting their needs best in a traditional American framework is the legislation we propose.

I am delighted to welcome you here today. I think your support, your presence here, is a welcome reminder of this legislation, its necessity, and I hope that from this meeting and from our work during the month of May that legislative results will come. I am glad to have the Speaker here, who has been involved in these issues for so many years, the Majority Leader of the Senate, and others. I just want you to know that you are most welcome to the White House.

This is also a house which has been, and this garden has been, the scene of a good many meetings. But I am hopeful that this meeting will produce a positive result before this Congress of the United States shall finally adjourn.

Thank you.

[At this point Mr. Forand, chairman of the Council, on behalf of its members presented the President with an Award of Merit "for the hope and the leadership he has given America's Senior Citizens." The President then resumed speaking.]

Thank you very much. I hope that all of you will visit the White House and perhaps you will arrange that.

Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 9:30 a.m. in the Flower Garden at the White House. During his remarks he referred to Aime Joseph Forand, former Representative from Rhode Island; John W. McCormack, Speaker of the House of Representatives; and Mike Mansfield, Majority Leader of the Senate.

On April 18 the President issued Proclamation 3527 proclaiming May 1963 as Senior Citizens Month (28 F.R. 4013; 3 CFR, 1963 Supp.).

John F. Kennedy, Remarks to Members of the National Council of Senior Citizens. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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