Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks Upon Signing a Proclamation to Commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising.

July 31, 1964


I want to say to each of you, and especially to the Members of Congress who have indulged me, that I regret very much I have been delayed. I had about 50 newspapermen in my office and I couldn't evict them as quickly as I should have, perhaps, but I thank you for your understanding and for your tolerance and I hope you didn't get too hot.

There are some compensating advantages. Maybe the sunburn will make you look better.

In any event, this is a very special occasion for me and I want to genuinely extend to you a warm welcome as a participant in this historic occasion. I want to thank you for coming. I want to review with you some of my thoughts, very briefly.

Twenty years ago tomorrow, in the city of Warsaw, there occurred a demonstration of human courage that the world will never forget. The courageous people of a captive city challenged the chains of their captors. Three hours after the start of what is known as "Operation Tempest," the flag of the Polish Republic was flying in the heart of Warsaw, for the first time in 5 years. For 63 days proud Poles fought to liberate their beloved capital from the occupying army.

On October 2, 1944, a decision to cease the valiant fight was dictated and required by lack of food, a lack of water, a lack of ammunition, and a desire to save the remaining civilian population from systematic destruction. Eighty percent of Warsaw had been destroyed. Twenty thousand Polish soldiers had been killed, or seriously wounded. The toll among civilians was too high to even count.

But as the Polish forces marched past on that final day, the citizens in the streets sang to them, "Poland is not yet lost, while we still live." We, in America, know that kind of spirit well. It attended us at the birth of our Nation. We have seen it shine from the Polish character time and time again. We see it, again, now in Warsaw rebuilt from the ashes and the rubble.

We see it in the steadfast faith of the Polish people. We see it gratefully in our fellow citizens of Polish ancestry and I visited only a few months ago in Chicago with hundreds of thousands of them. They live among us now as patriots of the cause of freedom for all mankind. The congressional district from which I come is inhabited by hundreds and thousands of people of Polish ancestry.

So, we know the Polish spirit well. We know the unswerving dedication of the Polish people to the goals of liberty and equality and independence. That is why our policy is designed to help the Polish people so they may increasingly help themselves. We have done much toward this goal in many fields.

Today all Americans are proud to join with the Poles of Poland, the Poles abroad, and the Polish-Americans to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising. We repeat with them now the motto of the Polish struggle for independence: For Your Freedom and Ours.

I want to acknowledge the presence in our audience this morning of the former Commander in Chief of the Underground, General Tadeusz Bor-Komorowski, from Warsaw.

And now it is my pleasure to present the President of the Polish-American Congress, Mr. Charles Rozmarek.

Note: The President spoke at noon in the Rose Garden at the White House. Following Mr. Rozmarek's remarks the President read and signed a proclamation which proclaimed August 1, 1964, as Warsaw Uprising Day (Proclamation 3603, 29 F.R. 11255; 3 CFR 1964 Supp.).

Included in the group were representatives of Polish-American organizations and presidents of Polish-American fraternal societies. Other Americans of Polish ancestry attending the reception included Government officials, Congressmen, veterans of military units who served during World War II, editors of Polish-American newspapers, and representatives of State legislatures.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks Upon Signing a Proclamation to Commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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