John F. Kennedy photo

Remarks at the Second Inaugural Anniversary Salute.

January 18, 1963

Ladies and gentlemen, John Bailey, Mr. Vice President, Bedford Wynne:

I want to express all of our thanks to all of those who were so generous with us tonight, Mr. Gene Kelly, who is a veteran of the First Inaugural Gala, Kirk Douglas, those talented people in show business at home and abroad who have been so generous, beginning long ago with the administration of Franklin Roosevelt, and who have sustained us. I want to thank all of you.

Matt McCloskey was the originator 30 years ago of the $100 dinner. We have revolutionized that by removing the dinner, but we are hanging on to the $100. The day will come when we will let you go.

Actually, I have been asked by Mr. Wynne to announce the man who sold the most tickets tonight. It is Mr. Jerry Kluttz of the Washington Post. Actually, I was invited to a cocktail party by Kenny O'Donnell, and that is the way I happened to get my ticket. In any case, I want to thank you for your help.

A party is of no use unless it fulfills some national purpose. I said the other day in the State of the Union that we were not on top of the hill, but on the side of the hill. I don't think in this administration or in our generation or time will this country be at the top of the hill, but some day it will be, and I hope when it is that they will think that we have done our part.

Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 9:30 p.m. in the National Guard Armory in Washington. In his opening words he referred to John M. Bailey, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, and Bedford S. Wynne, chairman of the Committee dinner. Later he referred to Gene KeIly and Kirk Douglas, screen stars who served as masters of ceremony; Matthew McCloskey, U.S. Ambassador to Ireland and former treasurer of the Democratic National Committee; Jerry Kluttz, Washington Post columnist; and P. Kenneth O'Donnell, Special Assistant to the President.

The reference to Mr. Kluttz and Mr. O'Donnell related to a story by the columnist to the effect that some Federal employees believed they were being subjected to pressure to buy tickets by means of invitations to cocktail parties to be given by agency heads on the evening of the anniversary salute.

John F. Kennedy, Remarks at the Second Inaugural Anniversary Salute. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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