Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks Upon Presenting the Harmon International Aviation Trophies

September 14, 1964

Honored guests, ladies and gentlemen:

On this occasion it is my privilege to perform once more a duty that has been performed by six other Presidents in awarding the Harmon International Aviation Trophies.

Since the air age began, our Nation has held a position of leadership in this new horizon of human experience. In this field as in all fields, the accomplishments of our machines are small against the achievements of our men and women themselves. In time to come our machines may perform marvelous feats in the distant realms of space, but I think always their success will rest upon man himself.

This was recognized long ago by Col. Clifford B. Harmon, a pioneer American aviator and balloonist. Colonel Harmon was a man unusually dedicated throughout his life to the promotion of world peace.

Forty years ago he had the vision that the airplane, the airstrip, and the pilots who flew them would some day have a powerful influence in bringing about world peace. It was Colonel Harmon's carefully considered opinion that pilots were better suited than members of any other calling to contribute actively to the prevention of war. It was with these ideas in mind that Colonel Harmon founded in 1926 the Harmon International Aviation Trophies.

Three years later, Colonel Harmon personally proposed to the then existing League of Nations a united air force for peace and defense. His vision was expressed eloquently when he wrote:

"The desire for peace is the finest ideal that the mind of man has ever known. Today as at no other time in the history of the world, we are in urgent need of the realization of that ideal, but we have learned that the desire for peace alone is not enough. That desire must be sustained by power."

Today, Colonel Harmon's native land fully realizes that preparedness is a predicate of peace. Together with free men everywhere, we stand prepared--prepared to defend our freedom, prepared to preserve the peace of all.

So, it gives me a great deal of pleasure-and I am very proud this afternoon--to join in this presentation of these awards of the Harmon Trophy for the most outstanding performances by aviators and aviatrixes in 1962 and 1963.

For 1962 the Aviator Award goes to Maj. Fritzhugh L. Fulton, Jr., of the United States Air Force.

Major Fulton in 1962 piloted a B-58 Hustler bomber beyond its designed performance to set new world altitude and payload records.

For 1963 the Aviatrix Award goes to Mrs. Betty Miller of Santa Monica, Calif. In 1963 she became the first woman in history to fly solo across the Pacific--7,400 miles from Oakland, Calif., to Sydney, Australia.

For 1963 the Aviator Award goes, for the first time, to a member of America's astronaut team, Maj. LeRoy Gordon Cooper. Every American knows the story of his flight. We lived it with him as he orbited the earth 22 times, traveling 593,885 miles. As we all remember so well, when the mechanisms failed, it was his pilot's skill that meant so much to the success of that great flight.

So, speaking for all of you here this afternoon, and the millions of other Americans who share the pride that we have, I say to those I have specifically mentioned, heartiest congratulations to all of you from all of us.

Note: The President spoke in the late afternoon in the Rose Garden at the White House.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks Upon Presenting the Harmon International Aviation Trophies Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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