Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks in New York City Upon Unveiling a Plaque in Honor of the 50th Anniversary of the ILGWU Health Center.

June 06, 1964

Mr. Dubinsky, Mr. Mayor, Senator Humphrey, Congressman Celler, Governor Munoz Marin, ladies and gentlemen:

I won't take long this morning, but I am very proud that I could come here and be associated with you in this memorable event this morning.

I am thinking as I stand here in the great city of New York, and as I begin this speech, about another time when another speech was being made in New York by the great Governor of this State, Al Smith. Some fellow who opposed Al was out in the crowd and he said, "Tell them all you know, Al. It won't take you long." Al came back and said, "I will tell them all we both know, and it won't take any longer."

I have come here today to salute the vision and the valor of the people who founded your union and who built this great center.

They were immigrants to the land and strangers to the language--men of Italy and Russia, men of Poland and Puerto Rico, and of the Americas.

But they were not newcomers to courage, and they understood the vocabulary of compassion. Against the bitter obstinacy of entrenched interests they battled, first to free workers from the slavery of sweatshops-then to free workers from sickness and disease.

This great health center is a testimony to their success and a memorial to their spirit.

Two days before his death, our late, beloved President John F. Kennedy, a man of great vision and great valor, signed the bill which made these medals possible. It was his last official legislative act. I know he would be proud of this moment. For this dedication, this plaque, these medals, and this anniversary are symbols of a greater reality that transcends this time. That reality is the constant effort of good men to make the world better for other people.

With the confidence that this plaque will remind future generations of the faith of those who passed this way--and with the hope that it will inspire all of us to greater works--I hereby this morning dedicate it to the memory of the men and the workers who made this great and memorable center possible.

Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 1:20 p.m. in the waiting-room area on the 22d floor of the Union Health Center, 275 Seventh Avenue, New York City. His opening words referred to David Dubinsky, president, International Ladies Garment Workers Union, Robert F. Wagner, Mayor of New York City, Hubert H. Humphrey, Senator from Minnesota, Emanuel Celler, Representative from New York, and Luis Munoz Marin, Governor of Puerto Rico.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks in New York City Upon Unveiling a Plaque in Honor of the 50th Anniversary of the ILGWU Health Center. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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