John F. Kennedy photo

Remarks at a Rally in Fort Worth in Front of the Texas Hotel

November 22, 1963

Mr. Vice President, Jim Wright, Governor, Senator Yarborough, Mr. Buck, ladies and gentlemen:

There are no faint hearts in Fort Worth, and I appreciate your being here this morning. Mrs. Kennedy is organizing herself. It takes longer, but, of course, she looks better than we do when she does it. But we appreciate your welcome.

This city has been a great western city, the defense of the West, cattle, oil, and all the rest. It has believed in strength in this city, and strength in this State, and strength in this country.

What we are trying to do in this country and what we are trying to do around the world, I believe, is quite simple: and that is to build a military structure which will defend the vital interests of the United States. And in that great cause, Fort Worth, as it did in World War II, as it did in developing the best bomber system in the world, the B-58, and as it will now do in developing the best fighter system in the world, the TFX, Fort Worth will play its proper part. And that is why we have placed so much emphasis in the last 3 years in building a defense system second to none, until now the United States is stronger than it has ever been in its history. And secondly, we believe that the new environment, space, the new sea, is also an area where the United States should be second to none.

And this State of Texas and the United States is now engaged in the most concentrated effort in history to provide leadership in this area as it must here on earth. And this is our second great effort. And in December--next month--the United States will fire the largest booster in the history of the world, putting us ahead of the Soviet Union in that area for the first time in our history.

And thirdly, for the United States to fulfill its obligations around the world requires that the United States move forward economically, that the people of this country participate in rising prosperity. And it is a fact in 1962, and the first 6 months of 1963, the economy of the United States grew not only faster than nearly every Western country, which had not been true in the fifties, but also grew faster than the Soviet Union itself. That is the kind of strength the United States needs, economically, in space, militarily.

And in the final analysis, that strength depends upon the willingness of the citizens of the United States to assume the burdens of leadership.

I know one place where they are, here in this rain, in Fort Worth, in Texas, in the United States. We are going forward.

Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 8:45 a.m. (c.s.t.) to a group assembled in a parking lot across the street from the Texas Hotel where the Chamber of Commerce breakfast was about to begin (see Item 476). In his opening words he referred to Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, Representative Jim Wright, Governor John B. Connally, and Senator Ralph W. Yarborough, all of Texas, and to Raymond Buck, president of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce.

John F. Kennedy, Remarks at a Rally in Fort Worth in Front of the Texas Hotel Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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