Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks at the "Salute to President Johnson" Dinner

May 26, 1964

Mr. Bailey, Mr. Salomon, Mr. Maguire, and my fellow Democrats:

I don't know how I can adequately say thank you to each of you who have made such a sacrifice to come here this evening and to make this wonderful party possible.

I do want to say to each person in this room that Mrs. Johnson and I feel deeply in your debt. We are especially grateful to Dick Adler and all of these talented performers that he brought here at such great sacrifice to entertain us, and if any of you feel like you didn't get your money's worth, you can see Mr. Maguire after the show.

This has been one of the great evenings that I have spent in the Capital.

Here in this room tonight is much of the strength of the Democratic Party and the strength of this Nation.

This is a significant moment. You are gathering as one Democratic administration draws to a close--and as we prepare for another 4 years of Democratic leadership.

I hope that you are all going to be with me for those years of achievement that are yet to come.

This is not a partisan dinner. It is not even a political affair. It is open to any member of any political group who wants to contribute $100 to the Democratic Party in November.

Three years ago, our beloved John F. Kennedy stood in this hall and said, "... in the administration of Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman and now tonight, the Democratic Party has a great national purpose--to move this country forward."

Tonight I say to you, in the administration of Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman and John F. Kennedy, the Democratic Party has moved this country forward.

And I am here to pledge you tonight that we are going to keep moving this country forward.

These are exciting days for our party. for Democrats are happy when their challenges are great.

The number of children born between this gala and the Presidential election of 1972 will be the same as the total population of the United States at the time of the inauguration of President Lincoln a century ago.

Men of little vision and meager vitality, men whose acts are timid and whose aims are tiny cannot hope to meet the challenges and shoulder the burdens of a mushrooming America.

Our party, the Democratic Party, has never believed in standing pat or in keeping cool-in telling people they never had it so good or that things will always be easy.

For specific problems, we have proposed and we have fought for specific programs-social security, minimum wage, the war on poverty, civil rights legislation, and a long, shining list of acts which have helped to make this country both great and free.

This is a proud record. But we are not a party that is satisfied with past gain. We are intent on future goals. We are a party confident that a people who will face the future can master the future. We are a party that believes the American people can shape their own destiny. And they have returned that faith by trusting us to lead them in that search.

Today, the challenges are clear.

We will build a society where no citizen will be barred from any door because of his color or his church.

Where no child will go unfed and no youngster will go unschooled.

Where no man who wants a job will fail to find it.

Where we can pursue our national goals in a world at peace.

Where a great Nation is building an even greater society.

Our legacy from the past is our faith in the future. From Jefferson to Kennedy, we in this hall have received that legacy--a torch passed from one generation to the next.

Let us carry that torch proudly toward our vision of the future.

In the past 4 years, we have come a long, long way toward that future: toward a new and toward a great society. Tonight, again, we say to the American people that the Democratic Party is the party that believes in Government for the people. So give us your hand and your heart, and give us your support and we pledge you we will finish the job.

Note: The President spoke at the National Guard Armory in Washington. His opening words referred to John M. Bailey, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Sidney Salomon, Jr., of St. Louis, Mo., who served as chairman of the dinner which preceded the Salute program, and Richard Maguire, Treasurer of the Democratic National Committee. Later he referred to Richard Adler who was in charge of the entertainment.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks at the "Salute to President Johnson" Dinner Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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