Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Statement by the President: Veterans Day, 1968.

November 11, 1968

WE OBSERVE Veterans Day, 1968, in a spirit of renewed hope for a just and honorable peace. Recent developments have made possible a bombing halt in Vietnam. Men of good will everywhere long more than ever for the day when all the guns of battle will be stilled.

It is appropriate that, in the same encouraging spirit of this veterans observance, we also commemorate the 50th anniversary of Armistice. For it is a half a century ago today, that men rejoiced in the long-sought peace that dawned upon a war torn world. It was the end of "the war to end war." It was the beginning of a peace which was to last.

But within just a few short years, we found that this peace and the freedom it brought were still a distant dream. Yet while the peace was broken, the freedom that triumphed lives on. And so it is that on the deltas of Vietnam the same thunderous voice of freedom continues to be heard. The place and time are different. But the objective is still the same. It is not an American objective. Nor is it a South Vietnamese objective. It is the objective of all free men. It is the will to live in liberty and peace. It is the battle of centuries--a battle for the preservation of man's dignity and of his right to be free from tyranny and fear.

Today, Americans everywhere join in tribute to those whose sacrifices have led our own Nation victoriously through the battlegrounds of freedom. And as we do so, we are joined by men and women throughout the world who share with us the celebrated memories of a bright, though brief, dawn of peace.

Since the first stages of our struggle for independence, 40 million Americans have taken up arms to preserve and perpetuate the liberty that inspired this Nation's birth. It is right that we salute their selfless service. For these are the men who responded to the call of the oppressed, and who, by their sacrifices, kept safe our way of life. These are the men who dared cry out that liberty is dearer than life itself. Whether they left their homes and loved ones to go to Europe in 1917, or joined the Allied cause in World War II; whether they have served in Korea or in Vietnam; they all share the same will, the same faith, and the same hope for human freedom. They bring pride to America even as America seeks to bring peace to the world. So on this day that celebrates the end of an historic war and the beginning of a new hope for peace, we are filled with gratitude for those who championed the work of peace in years gone by. And we are one in admiration for all who carry forward their commitment.

Our heads are bowed in prayer that half a century hence the world may rejoice in 50 unbroken years of peace, and that its citizens may live as brothers in the community of progress and tranquillity for which so many of their predecessors gave so much.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Statement by the President: Veterans Day, 1968. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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