Telephone Remarks to the Convention of the Plasterers' Union
President Leonard and members:
I am proud to be able to join today in congratulating you as you celebrate the 100th anniversary of your union.
Over these last 100 years, we have made much progress in this country toward fulfilling the promise of freedom for our people and of all mankind. It is symbolic, I think, that your union was founded at a time when Americans were fighting other Americans in a terrible war that divided our Nation. For the gains all of us have made--whether in labor or business or agriculture--have come because of our Nation's growing unity since that era of tragic division.
We are a happier people, we are a stronger Nation because we have avoided the division of class against class and creed against creed and color against color.
Today, great opportunities open before us to make this life better for all of us. The right of the workingman to be recognized-and to bargain collectively--must not and will not be compromised as long as I sit in the White House. The same is true for the rights and attainments of all sectors of our society--business as well as labor, farmers as well as consumers, the old as well as the young.
Our challenge is not to turn back or to look aside--but to go ahead to the work that will make this a better and finer land for all of us.
We want to assure that every child born in this land will in the future have the opportunity for a full education--to the full extent of his abilities. We want our citizens who enjoy a longer life to know that the savings of their productive years will not be wiped away by hospital costs in their later years. We want the heads of every family to know that when they need work and want to work there will be jobs available to them--good jobs at decent pay.
Devotion to goals such as these has made America what it is today. And I don't think there is one of you at that convention this morning that would choose any other of the 120 countries in lieu of America. For I believe the American people know in their hearts that the course we are following is the right course.
We have the wisdom and the will to build a great society in the United States. All of you are builders of America and in these next years ahead I believe that you will be building--both on the job and in your participation as citizens of this republic.
Our generation is privileged to bear the burdens of defending freedom and preserving peace around the world. This is a great and noble task. None of us would turn away from it.
But if we are to stand as the strong center of the free world--and the hopes of man-we must always work to assure the success, stability, progress, and unity of our democratic system and our society here at home.
That is why we work as we do to protect the equal rights and equal opportunity of all--to assure the progress of all families in our land.
Let those of us who are well-fed, well-clothed, and well-housed never forget and never overlook those who live on the outskirts of hope. Most of us have lived that way ourselves at some time in our lives. Let us not forget the Golden Rule of do unto others as we would have them do unto us. And while we work to maintain peace in the world, let us not forget that here at home we are locked in battle against poverty and ignorance and disease and violence.
In the year 2064, when your convention meets to celebrate your 200th anniversary, it is my earnest hope, my genuine prayer, and your wish that your heirs in your trade union will be able to say that this, the year 1964, was the time when all Americans began the work of our greatest construction project--the building of the Great Society in America where the fruits of that society would be distributed to all the people.
Thank you and goodby.
Note: The President spoke by telephone from the LBJ Ranch in Johnson City, Tex., to the delegates to the 100th Anniversary Convention of the Operative Plasterers' and Cement Masons' International Association of the United States and Canada, held at the Sheraton Hotel in Philadelphia, Pa. His opening words referred to Edward J. Leonard, general president of the association.
The text of the President's remarks was released at Austin, Tex.
Lyndon B. Johnson, Telephone Remarks to the Convention of the Plasterers' Union Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/241762