Lyndon B. Johnson photo

The President's Toast at a Dinner for the Governors

March 18, 1967

The long shadow cast by the conflict in Vietnam still stretches across our land tonight. It reaches into this room. It touches the mind and the heart of each one of us. It is a painful course that we pursue to keep hope alive in that land where our commitment is tested. But pursue it we must.

In just a short while I will have to take my leave of you. We are going out across the Pacific again--this time to Guam. There we will review our course of action with our military commanders and the leaders of the Vietnamese Government.

But before I take my leave, let me say that it is a pleasure and a privilege to have you with us here tonight.

Theodore Roosevelt started something very valuable to this Government back in 1908 when he asked the Governors to come to Washington to meet with him. When that first Governors' conference passed a resolution supporting his great conservation program, President Roosevelt called the resolution-and I quote--"A document which ought to be hung in every schoolhouse throughout the land."

Generations of Americans have profited from the joint concern that was shared and voiced by the President and the Governors six decades ago. In the years since then we have learned time and again that the Nation always profits when the Federal Government and the States bring their combined energies and devotions to programs affecting the national welfare.

We are all witnessing now--more than witnessing, we are helping to create--a new and exciting phase of the ancient partnership that unites the States and local communities with the Federal Government. As America grows greater and stronger and more complex, that partnership, which underpins our entire philosophy of government, represents the most valid hope of our future.

In this busy day that is ending, we have tried to tell you what we are doing to strengthen the partnership between us. You have told us much that is valuable about the problems we face as a people. Together we have strengthened and extended the free communication on which our partnership is built. That is the basis for our common progress in the future.

Earlier this week I visited the home of one of the true giants of the American Presidency, Andrew Jackson. At a dinner 137 years ago, President Jackson gave a toast which is now a part of his legend. "Our Federal Union," he said, "it must be preserved."

No President could improve upon Jackson's words. But to the great good fortune of America, history has made his toast unnecessary to repeat. Our Union has been preserved. It is strong, it is durable, and it is confident.

Tonight, I would give you a new toast, voiced in the context of the America we live in today--

Our Federal Union: May we build on its past to lift the quality of its life in the future. May we build a land where the least among us can find contentment, and the best among us will find greatness.

Ladies and gentlemen, to the Union.

Note: The President spoke at 9:33 p.m. in the State Dining Room at the White House.

As printed above, this item follows the text released by the White House Press Office.

Lyndon B. Johnson, The President's Toast at a Dinner for the Governors Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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