Ronald Reagan picture

Remarks at a White House Luncheon for Members of the James S. Brady Presidential Foundation

September 23, 1982

Thank you very much. Thank you, Jim.

One of the first things I learned in public speaking class was that you should never open with an apology. And I was wondering how I was going to explain that we had to get out of here before the meeting was over, and you took care of that. Thank you very much.

Nancy and I are delighted that you could all come and be with us for what I know we all agree is a wonderful and very worthy cause, the James S. Brady Presidential Foundation. As you know, the foundation will honor Jim in recognition of the tremendous sacrifices that he and Sarah and their family have made. It will also provide assistance to other individuals wounded or killed in an assassination attempt on national figures and will provide assistance to that individual's family.

Now, these good things don't just happen. They depend on the active support of fine people like yourselves—all of you who have worked so hard, and on the leadership of the foundation's nonpartisan board of directors. I won't name all the members, but I do want to pay a special tribute to three particular individuals, and one is Jim Lynn, the president of the foundation, and the two who are co-chairing the Fund-raising effort, Joe Rodgers and Bob Strauss.

Now, since Bob and Joe both are such good numbers men— [laughter] —and since this is the election season, I confess I got a little nervous. But I am assured that they are dedicated to this worthy and noble cause.

I'm also delighted to tell you that Nancy will assume with great pleasure the position of honorary chairman of the foundation. You know that it almost became a byword for several months there that Jim was Nancy's Y&H, "young and handsome." [Laughter]

But you know at the first reception marking the formation of this foundation, I said that it seemed to me that Jim Brady has some connections in very high places. He'd been out the night before at the Old Timers' Baseball Game, you'll remember that they held here with all the great stars, baseball stars of the past. And on that particular night, it was raining. And then Jim was introduced, and it stopped raining. [Laughter]

Well, you know now that he's gone back home to Chicago, and he's pulled off another miracle. On Monday afternoon he went to see his favorite team, and mine, the Chicago Cubs. And after Jim threw out the first ball, the Cubs actually went out and won the game. [Laughter] And now, they're only 20 games out of first place. [Laughter]

Maybe the best way to describe the effect Jim Brady has on people is to read you a letter that I received from Mrs. James H. Terrell, of Alexandria, Virginia, a few months ago. Her son, John, had heard about what we're trying to do and, although he's only 9, he wanted to help. So he decided to go out on that bike path that's along Mt. Vernon Highway and sell lemonade for 10 cents-a-cup to raise money. And his mother wrote, "On Sunday, April 18, 1982, young John Terrell enjoyed selling lemonade and fruit punch to the many thirsty bicyclers on the bike trail. His goal was to help Mr. Jim Brady financially. His efforts collected the enclosed $37, and he did this by 10 cents-a-cup, plus a few tips. Please accept John's love gift for Jim Brady. John is a fourth grade student at Hollin Meadows School in Alexandria.

Well, as you can see, I think that John's sign probably helped a little. You may not be able to read that from where you are, but it's his own homemade sign that he had in his business undertaking. For those in the far corners, it read, "Please give for Jim Brady."

Anyone want to argue that this isn't the greatest country in the world?

And, Jim, if you're watching, I think that John's sign says it all about the love America feels for Jim Brady and how all of us are praying for his continued recovery.

Again, thank you all very much for helping make this foundation come true and for enabling it to provide assistance to those in need.

So, for Jim and for everyone else and for all of us, thank you, and God bless you.

Note: The President spoke at 1:20 p.m. in the State Dining Room at the luncheon he and Mrs. Reagan hosted for members of the foundation's board of directors and council of trustees, a nonpartisan group of people who will be involved in Fund-raising efforts for the foundation.

The President was introduced by James T. Lynn, president of the foundation. In his remarks, the President also referred to Joe M. Rodgers and Robert S. Strauss, cochairmen of the Fund-raising effort.

The James S. Brady Presidential Foundation is a public foundation that was established to provide assistance to any needy individual wounded or killed in an assassination attempt on any senior Federal official, Presidential candidate, or family member of the President and Vice President, and to provide assistance to the individual's family. The foundation also is authorized to create certain scholarships as a tribute to such victims or to encourage young people to enter government service. The idea for the foundation grew out of concern by a number of national business and political leaders for the need to provide special assistance to persons whose lives' are placed in danger simply because they are at the scene of an assassination attempt. The foundation was chartered in November 1981, under the name "The Stand By Fund." It was later renamed "The James S. Brady Presidential Foundation" in honor of the Press Secretary to the President and in recognition of the inspiration he has given to others.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks at a White House Luncheon for Members of the James S. Brady Presidential Foundation Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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