Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks at the Unveiling of the President's Portrait in the Texas State Capitol.

May 28, 1965

Dean Aikin, Governor Connally, Governor Smith, Speaker Barnes, my beloved friends of the Senate, the House, my fellow Americans:

This is a very thoughtful and generous thing for you to do and I appreciate so very much, Governor Smith, the great honor that you accord me and the great privilege you give me in inviting me here this morning.

It is an unexpected but very welcome pleasure to be here with you in the Capitol of the State of "Connally."

I wasn't sure whether I could get in this morning since, after all, as you know, I am by profession a schoolteacher, but I am especially glad to be here in the Texas Senate.

There are very few deliberative bodies that have the reputation that you members of the Senate have--charity toward one another. Not only do you sit with each other and debate with each other, and vote with each other, but now it seems that you have decided next year you will all run against each other.

Several days ago my secretary from San Angelo came into my office and said that we had received a telegram from Senator Dorsey Hardeman from San Angelo. I assumed, of course, that it was one of Dorsey's frequent expressions of support for my domestic program. But my secretary said, "No, Mr. President, it is an invitation to a hanging." And I said, rather cautiously, "Whose?" She replied, "Yours." But knowing Dorsey for so long and understanding his views about Presidents and Governors, I said, "So what else is new?"

The hanging of my portrait may be a little setback for Lady Bird's beautification program, but I want all of you to know that I appreciate this very much, and I am very grateful to each of you.

This great State Capitol--and the chambers of this Texas Legislature--have a very special meaning for me. It was here, at my father's side, that I was first exposed to the strength, the vitality, and the enduring value of our system of representative democracy.

From that day to this, I have been dedicated--as I shall be while there is breath in me--to that system's strength and its stability and its success.

Today, I believe that all of us can and should be proud that both politically and economically our system is succeeding as it has never before. At the courthouse, and the statehouse, and the White House, we are working together with mutual respect--if not always mutual agreement. And that is, I think, as it should always be.

The deep divisions among us are diminishing. We are coming to be--as we were meant to be--one nation and one people, knowing no north, no south, no east, no west, no creed, no color, no class, or no caste.

As a result of this spirit, we enjoy today the greatest prosperity in the history of the American Nation.

For more than 51 consecutive months, we have had the longest peacetime expansion America has ever known.

The value of what this Nation produces-its gross national product--has increased 30 percent. The number of jobs has grown by 5.3 million. The personal income of our citizens has gained 28 percent. Corporate profits--after taxes--have risen 87 percent. For the first time in our national history, savings and assets of individuals have passed, finally, the $1 trillion mark, and also, for the first time in our history, per capita income in Texas has passed the $2,000 mark.

Now, all of this has been accomplished with the most stable prices that exist in the Western World.

This is good. This is strength--and we shall need it.

'What we stand for and what we believe in, and what we value most dearly is challenged on many fronts. We know not the hour or the day when enemies of human progress may seek to impose their will on free men near and far. But in the words of the Scripture, we as a nation shall be "instant in season and out of season"--prepared, alert, ready, and willing to make certain that aggression does not pay, that subversion does not succeed.

Where we have given our word in other corners of the world, we shall keep it. Where free men ask our help, we shall answer their call. We shall be just, and we shall be prudent, and we shall also be prompt and brave, for we are determined here in America that peace shall not perish, and the cause of freedom shall not be failed.

Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 9:30 a.m. in the Senate Chamber at the State Capitol at Austin, Tex. In his opening words he referred to State Senator A. M. Aikin, Jr., dean of the Texas Senate, Governor John Connally, Lt. Governor Preston Smith, and State Representative Ben Barnes, Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, all of Texas. During his remarks he referred to State Senator Dorsey B. Hardeman of San Angelo, Tex., and to his father, Sam Ealy Johnson, Jr., who served in the Texas State Legislature from 1905 to 1909 and from 1917 to 1925.

The 7-foot oil portrait of the President, the work of David Phillip Wilson of San Antonio, was hung in the Senate Chamber at the Texas State Capitol.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks at the Unveiling of the President's Portrait in the Texas State Capitol. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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