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(1963) Lyndon B. Johnson, “Address Before a Joint Session of Congress"

On November 27, 1963 just five days after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, newly installed President Lyndon Baines Johnson addresses Congress for the first time.   His address appears below.

Mr. Speaker, Mr. President, Members of the House, Members of the Senate, my fellow Americans:

All I have I would have given gladly not to be standing here today.

The greatest leader of our time has been struck down by the foulest deed of our time. Today John Fitzgerald Kennedy lives on in the immortal words and works that he left behind. He lives on in the mind and memories of mankind. He lives on in the hearts of his countrymen.

No words are sad enough to express our sense of loss. No words are strong enough to express our determination to continue the forward thrust of America that he began.

The dream of conquering the vastness of space--the dream of partnership across the Atlantic--and across the Pacific as well--the dream of a Peace Corps in less developed nations--the dream of education for all of our children--the dream of jobs for all who seek them and need them--the dream of care for our elderly--the dream of an all-out attack on mental illness--and above all, the dream of equal rights for all Americans, whatever their race or color--these and other American dreams have been vitalized by his drive and by his dedication.

And now the ideas and the ideals which he so nobly represented must and will be translated into effective action.

Under John Kennedys leadership, this Nation has demonstrated that it has the courage to seek peace, and it has the fortitude to risk war. We have proved that we are a good and reliable friend to those who seek peace and freedom. We have shown that we can also be a formidable foe to those who reject the path of peace and those who seek to impose upon us or our allies the yoke of tyranny.

This Nation will keep its commitments from South Viet-Nam to West Berlin. We will be unceasing in the search for peace; resourceful in our pursuit of areas of agreement even with

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