John F. Kennedy photo

Remarks of Welcome to the Members of the Black Watch Regiment

November 13, 1963

Ladies and gentlemen, Ambassador, Major Wingate Gray, boys and girls:

It is a great pleasure for Mrs. Kennedy and myself to welcome the Black Watch to the White House. We are proud to do so for many reasons--because the Colonel in Chief of the Regiment is the Queen Mother of Great Britain, and this regiment has carried the colors of the British race around the globe for several centuries, fighting all the way from Ticonderoga to Waterloo, to the Crimea to India--against us on one occasion, in the war for independence; with us on many occasions--World War I, World War II, and Korea.

So we are proud to have them here. And we are proud to have them here also because they are a Scottish Regiment, and that green and misty country has sent hundreds and thousands of Scottish men and women to the United States and they have been among our finest citizens.

We are proud to have them here, finally, because, speaking personally, the history of Scotland captured me at a very young age. The United States, in fact all of us, love, I suppose, in a sense, lost causes, and on occasion the history of Scotland has been a lost cause. But in some ways they have triumphed perhaps more today than ever before. So we are glad to have you here, Major, and we regard it as a great honor to have the representatives of a great country here as our guests here at the White House.

Thank you.

[At this point Major Gray spoke briefly and presented the President with an officer's dirk. The President then resumed speaking.]

I want to thank the Major for this presentation of a dirk of the Black Watch. The Major just said that the motto of the Black Watch is "Nobody wounds us with impunity." I think that is a very good motto for some of the rest of us.

Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 4 p.m. In his opening words he referred to Sir David Ormsby Gore, British Ambassador to the United States, and Maj. W. M. Wingate Gray, Commander of the Black Watch, who joined the President and Mrs. Kennedy for the review. The members of the regiment then piped and marched on the South Lawn at the White House before an audience consisting chiefly of children from agencies supported by the United Givers Fund.

John F. Kennedy, Remarks of Welcome to the Members of the Black Watch Regiment Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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