Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks to the White House Police.

November 22, 1968

Director Rowley, Mr. Youngblood, Major Lanier, my friends:

We are getting two for the price of one. I came over here to thank you for what you have already done for me. Now I have to thank you for what you are doing for me now. I understand what this means because for 5 years, on occasions, there have been people who thought they were important, who didn't like to show their badge or didn't like to identify themselves and cause you problems.

Anticipating what you might run into when I come back to town, I thought you thought that you would give me one of these badges so I, at least, wouldn't start a ruckus. [Laughter]

I appreciate it. I thank you very much. I am going to prize this. It proves what I have always known: We cops look out after each other.

I have told Director Rowley, Mr. Youngblood, and Major Lanier, and others of you individually from time to time what a grand group you are. But, I have never told all of you at one time. And I wanted to do that before I left.

I don't know whether you realize it or not, but in the last 5 years, we have had more than 1 million people come here to have appointments at the White House or to attend official functions at the White House.

All those people have had to be cleared and processed to come through the gate. And you have carried upon your shoulders and in your head and in your heart a terrific responsibility, knowing every moment that if you make one little mistake it could mean a great tragedy.

You have done it without any complaining, without quarreling with anyone. And you have done it so effectively that very few of us have realized that there was such an astronomical number of appointments with the President and his staff.

More than 8 million people have visited the White House during that period, too. They have come in the basement, gone through the front rooms, and visited the East Room and other places. You have looked them over, moved them in, and moved them out graciously, always courteously, and competently.

So Mrs. Johnson and I are very grateful for that. We are proud that we have got men like you in our country.

We are going to support you as private citizens like we have tried to support you here.

You have given us a great deal of comfort. We have never gone to sleep in doubt because we knew that, while we enjoyed the luxury of a warm room and a soft bed, and we could sleep through the night, some of you were moving around the grounds, out at the gate, unlocking the doors and looking after the leaders of your country.

I have said this to Director Rowley often and I want to repeat it to you today. One of the great burdens of this office was lifted from my shoulders when we came through November 6. We had gone through a hectic campaign in this country when there was a great deal of violence in our cities. Our candidates had gone from one end of the Nation to the other--members of both parties.

They had all visited the Capitol at various times and the White House at various times. And while we had problems during the conventions, and problems right up through election night, it was men like you that made it possible for the leaders of the Nation to go out and see the people of the Nation and present their viewpoints in a democratic way.

So you have had a big hand in preserving the democracy, the liberty, and the freedom that we all treasure.

You have conducted yourselves as gentlemen, as leaders yourselves, and in every way worthy of that seal that you wear on your left shoulder.

Mrs. Johnson and I, Lynda, and Luci thank you--I brought Lucinda out here to see you but evidently the nurse decided otherwise-but I thank you on behalf of Lucinda and Patrick Lyndon, too.

Note: The President spoke at 12:14 p.m. at the North Portico of the White House. In his opening words he referred to James J. Rowley, Director of the United States Secret Service, Rufus W. Youngblood, Deputy Director, and Maj. Glenard E. Lanier, Commanding Officer of the White House Police. During his remarks the President referred to his daughters, Mrs. Charles S. (Lynda Bird) Robb and Mrs. Patrick J. (Luci Baines) Nugent, his granddaughter, Lucinda Desha Robb, and his grandson, Patrick Lyndon Nugent.

Prior to his remarks, Major Lanier presented the President with a badge making him an honorary member of the White House Police.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks to the White House Police. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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