Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks at the Graduation Ceremony of the Capitol Page School.

June 13, 1967

Capitol Page School graduates, Members of the Congress, ladies and gentlemen;

I want to say to the school graduates that I am very happy to congratulate you today on your graduation and to have this chance to personally welcome you here to the White House.

I suspect that someday, some other President may be greeting you as Members of Congress or as high officials of Government.

You have had a unique educational experience: unique in your country--and, as far as I can learn, unique in all the world.

You have been given a chance to see Government without glamor--to learn that ideals alone don't make programs; that dreams do not automatically become reality.

You have learned the political realities that go to making up our democratic system.

President Theodore Roosevelt best described those realities once when he said:

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles .... The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood . . . who spends himself in a worthy cause. His place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

That knowledge gives you a head start in life. It will be useful to you, whether your career is in public service or in private life.

I hope that most of you will consider Government as a career-either as elected officials, like your very able alumnus Senator Church, or in other fields of public service.

For the world that you enter very much needs your help today. For our Nation is called upon not just to maintain the blessings we now enjoy, but to multiply those blessings; to improve the world for all people-and to improve it for generations yet to come,

Doing that enormous job will always be difficult; sometimes frustrating--but always exciting and most of the time rewarding.

I think you are specially qualified for that high endeavor.

By watching the Congress at work, by helping the Congress at work--you have learned a lesson that a great leader of Congress for half a century, Speaker Rayburn, used to teach: "Ability is no good without energy."

And Mr. Rayburn, who had an old-fashioned faith in integrity, used to say this, too: "No one can destroy the confidence other men have in you--except you."

I congratulate you on arriving at this day in life--in earning this graduation. I wish you well. I have complete faith that the confidence that your parents, your teachers, your associates in the Congress, and all of us have in you will be well placed. It is good to have you here.

Note: The President spoke at 11;32 a.m. in the Rose Garden at the White House, before presenting diplomas to the graduates. During his remarks he referred to Sam Rayburn, Representative from Texas 1913-1961, who served as Speaker of the House of Representatives 1940-1947, 1949-1953, 1955-1961.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks at the Graduation Ceremony of the Capitol Page School. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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