Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks Upon Accepting the Big Brother of the Year Award

March 25, 1964

I don't know of any award that cheers and encourages me more than this Big Brother Award. To help a boy find his way--to give his life purpose and meaning--is as noble an enterprise as any man could join.

Yesterday I spoke to a group here in Washington and told them that America's purpose was to offer an outstretched arm that tries to help, instead of an arm-length sword that helps to kill.

As a matter of fact, the aims of the Big Brother movement and the hopes of this Nation in its relationships with young, emerging nations in this world are much the same.

America's selfless purpose around the world is to try to help other nations find in their future the same kind of inspiration that was born in a struggling young republic 175 years ago.

Our war on poverty is a Big Brother movement--to try to reach out to those who are sunk deep in misery and deprivation and say to them, "Here, let me take you by the hand and help you help yourself. Let us try to help you find brightness where now there is none. Let us revive in your heart the hope that once was there but is now gone."

So, I accept this Big Brother Award not personally but as a symbol of what this unselfish, generous Nation is trying to do-here at home and around the world.

May God bless each of you and the efforts that you are making in this most worthy Cause.

Note: The ceremony was held at 5 p.m. in the President's office at the White House. The award was presented to the President jointly by Charles G. Berwind, President of Big Brothers of America, and television star Dick Van Dyke, a member of the national board. The following citation accompanied the award:

"In recognition of your outstanding contributions and accomplishments and the use of your personality, your office and your position of world influence to foster the spirit of brotherhood among the peoples of the world, Big Brothers of America proudly names you Big Brother of the Year.

"Your leadership and dedicated efforts to wage war on poverty that children may grow into manhood and womanhood with hope and self-respect are in keeping with the traditions and aims of the Big Brother movement.

"By giving so generously of yourself, your heart and your concern to the problems of the individual you exemplify the philosophy of the Big Brother Movement and are a source of lasting pride to every Big and Little Brother."

Among those present for the ceremony were officials of the Big Brother movement from all over the United States and Canada.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks Upon Accepting the Big Brother of the Year Award Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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