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Let Us Continue

LBJ Library & Museum

Sound | 1960s

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Transcript
  •  The funeral of the 35th President of the United States: John Fitzgerald Kennedy. 
  •  There is a universal language that records grief and anguish.  One does not cry in English or in Arabic, Spanish or in Russian, or in an Oriental tongue.  One only cries. 
  •  But out of grief and anguish, out of shock and pain, men supersede men, and empty chairs are filled.  This is the office of the President, and this is the 36th President of the United States.  His name is Lyndon B. Johnson.  What you will see now is a study of the man and a study of the world he lives in.  It is also a study of what he believes in. 
  •  Lyndon Baines Johnson was born in the tiny town of Stonewall, Texas.  His grandfather announced to one and all "Today a United States Senator was born!"  Lyndon Johnson was a farmboy.  Son of a pioneering family.  In college a star debater, and then a teacher, a teacher soon to become a congressman. 
  •  A President named Franklin D. Roosevelt saw something in Johnson's eyes and liked what he saw.  Next the United States Navy, the first congressman to volunteer for service.  After the war, back to Washington as a Senator from the State of Texas.  Serving with a friend, the young Senator from Massachusetts, John Kennedy. 
  •  He became and adviser and counselor to presidents.  To Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower, respected as a statesman by both parties.  He became majority leader of the United States Senate, a man of strength, enormous energy, and drive, and also a man who believed in meeting the people, for he knew the ultimate strength of democracy rests with the people. 
  •  But there was another life, a home life in Texas with two lovely daughters and a devoted life.  A man raised on the land will never forget the land.  In 1960, the Democratic party nominated Lyndon B. Johnson for run for the Vice Presidency of the United States, and the people elected him. 
  •  Lyndon B. Johnson: I, Lyndon Baines Johnson do so.Earl Warren: Do solemnly swearLBJ: Do solemnly swearEW: That I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic.LBJ: That I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. 
  •  The Vice President had a desk in Washington, but his desk stretched across the earth.  As a young man, Lyndon Johnson traveled across America on a freight train.  Now his travels would become worldwide for he knew the interests of one country were in essence the interests of the world. 
  •  It was a world precariously hanging by a high tension wire, but the great battle was the battle of men's minds.  A battle of concept and philosophy.  There was an opportunity who would utilize coercion instead of free choice, tyranny instead of freedom, who would build a wall to block instead of a bridge to join.  But men and women with a hunger for free air tried and are trying to bridge it. 
  •  What their communist masters could not understand is that there is no wall, no dungeon, no prison, no concentration camp big enough or strong enough to stifle man's yearning for his liberty. 
  •  To a beleaguered city, an island of hope in an ocean of desperation, there came a visitor. Not a conquering hero but a humble man who recognized the fact that the cheering thousands were welcoming not only a Vice President but a symbol of a sister nation's dedication to liberty. 
  •  LBJ: I have come across the ocean to Berlin by direction of the President of the United States, John F. Kennedy.  He wants you to know, and I want you to know, that the pledge he has given to the freedom of West Berlin and to the right of Western access to Berlin is firm. To the people of East Berlin, I would say do not lose courage, for (unintelligible).  Its days are numbered. 
  •  There are walls that stifle and imprison, but there are other walls, walls that enclose hopes, walls that are monuments to dreams, walls that are fortresses that house the soaring spirit of man: the builder. Modernization of developing countries, alliance for progress, foreign aid. While these titles identify, they are more than just an expression of government policy.  They are a vibrant and living answer to human need. 
  •  Alliance for progress and progress has a base. You lay foundations in the young minds of those who will inherit and ultimately lead. Johnson had said, "It is in the soil of ignorance that poverty is planted.  It is in the soil of ignorance that disease flourishes.  It is in the soil of ignorance that racial and religious strife takes root.  It is in the soil of ignorance that communist brings forth the bitter fruit of tyranny." 
  •  Again, more than just policy, rather a commitment to an idea that a world cannot exist with have's and have not's.  Our hope has to be translated to a reality.  A dream has to be given flesh and blood, and this is what it has done: deplete disease, to look after the most precious commodity known to man, its young. These are the things John F. Kennedy devoted a career to, and this was the gauntlet picked up by his successor. 
  •  It mattered not where he went, what nature of people he saw, what crops came forth from a renewed earth.  What mattered was the feeling of moving ahead down aged and ancient roads that now felt the wheel-print of progress. Lyndon Johnson opened up the windows of the world and looked outside. 
  •  A face to face confrontation between what was needed and what a man knew had to be supplied.  Lyndon B. Johnson traveled across the world looking, listening, seeing, hearing, and he took with him the concern of his government and of its people.  Wherever Lyndon B. Johnson traveled, he was not just a spokesman of policy, he was a human being interested in other human beings. 
  •  The world is one place divided by language, custom, ritual, religion, there are differences inattitudes, ideas, concepts, but there is oneness, universality, a mutual belonging in the most basic and fundamental appraisal of the human animal.  This is simply the humanity of all men, his capacity to feel, to love, to share, to toil toward improvement, to leave behind something of enrichment for the generation to follow. 
  •  As Lyndon Johnson and his wife went place to place, country to country, an enduring truth went with them.  The belief and the acknowledgment that humanity transcended differences. 
  •  In this world where differences are sometimes not tolerated, contrasts looked upon as suspect, and variance shunted aside as foreign and wrong, there must be men of state of believe and acknowledge that there is room on this earth for many creeds and beliefs and cultures. 
  •  What does a man carry with him in a briefcase or in a pocket or in his heart?  You can ask the people he talks to and listens to.  You could have posed a question to the men and women across the globe who talked and listened to Lyndon B. Johnson.  They could perceive what this man carried with him.  It was compassion.  The Vice President of the United States cared. 
  •  We call this The United Nation, a first step and a giant step toward and elusive, abstract, and yet fundamental concept within the family of man.  It is called simply peace.  Johnson had said "We must not be pushed back into isolation.  We cannot bury our heads nor can we ignore our heavy responsibilities in the world community."  He said this on July 6, 1946.  He says it today.  Before every session of The United Nations the delegates rise as one to meditate silently.  In each mind must certainly run a train of thought, "What is the destiny of the human race?"  Peace is still an abstract, still a dream, still a hope but to the Kennedy administration and to Lyndon Johnson it was a goal infinite in its importance. 
  •  Across the earth civilized man has had to pause and reflect on what is a challenge to all mankind.  Hopeful, he knows that peace carries with it its own world problems but that nuclear war would erase the world.  Of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty President Johnson said "We are not taking any needless risks for peace, nor are we enclosing the future.  We have to desire to perpetuate the burdens and dangers of the Cold War, no ambition to doom mankind into an intensified arms race, no wish to convince the Soviets that reasonable proposals will be rejected by us without fair or adequate consideration. 
  •  President Kennedy had pointed out that the treaty was a step toward peace, a step toward reason, a step away from war, and quoting from a Chinese proverb he said, "A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step."  The world has now taken that step. 
  •  History documents what are groundswells in the affairs of men.  One such is the cry of the minority to share with the majority the legacy of the ages, human rights, human dignity, human freedom.  In the summer of 1963 Americans of all colors gathered in their nations capitol to reaffirm the fact that this legacy was not a select gift for some, to be denied others. 
  •  "Let those who care for their country come forward, north and south, white and negro, to lead the way through this great moment of challenge and decision until justice is blind to color, until all education is unaware of race, until opportunity is unconcerned with the color of men's skin.  We shall have fallen short of assuring freedom to the free."  So spoke Lyndon B. Johnson. 
  •  There are horizons still left for man to explore, still mountain peaks to ascend, still unknowns to be sought and explained.  There is space.  The United States continues to reach out to this void to find answers, and of this program Johnson said "We are not reaching for prestige in space.  We are reaching for peace.  We do not know, the Soviets do not know what the stars will tell us. We do know that to default the exploration of the universe of space would surely be as catastrophic in its consequences as if we had defaulted exploration of the universe of the atom."  The next frontier lies around and above us.  Man already seeks it out because that is his nature.  It is part of his destiny as well. 
  •  Out of grief and anguish, and out of mourning, one man superseded another.  In November of 1963 Lyndon B. Johnson became President of the United States. The problems of the world were awesome, but when he walked into the assembled Congress of the United States, those to saw him saw strength.  An office had been filled, and it had been filled with courage. 
  •  LBJ: 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. This nation will keep its commitments from South Vietnam to West Berlin.  
  •  We will be unceasing in the search for peace, resourceful in our pursuit of areas of agreement, even with those with whom we differ, and generous and loyal to those who join with us in common cause. We will carry on the fight against poverty, and misery, and disease, and ignorance, in other lands and in our own. From this chamber of representative government, let all the world know and none misunderstand that I rededicate this Government to the unswerving support of the United Nations- 
  •  -to the honorable and determined execution of our commitments to our allies, to the reinforcement of our programs of mutual assistance and cooperation in Asia and Africa, and to our Alliance for Progress in this hemisphere. 
  •  On the 20th day of January, in 19 and 61, John F. Kennedy told his countrymen that our national work would not be finished "in the first thousand days, nor in the life of this administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet." "But," he said, "let us begin." Today in this moment of new resolve, I would say to all my fellow Americans, let us continue. 
  •  The 36th President of the United States Lyndon B. Johnson.  He had asked for faith.  He had called for strength.  He had solicited a dedication to go along with his own.  He had picked up a challenge and he and The United States of America are indeed continuing. 
 
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"Let Us Continue" memorializes President John F. Kennedy and introduces his successor, President Lyndon Baines Johnson. The film examines the life of President Johnson from his youth in Texas, his early years in the House of Representatives, through his years in the US Senate before his nomination for, and swearing in as, Vice President of the United States. President Johnson's interests in combating poverty, fighting for civil rights, and exploring outer space are all highlighted in the film. The footage culminates in President Johnson's November 27, 1963, address to a joint session of congress in which he laments the death of President Kennedy but exhorts those present to not give up. President Kennedy had used the statement "let us begin," and President Johnson implores "let us continue." In addition to the footage of President Johnson on his travels and imagery of President Kennedy's funeral, "Let Us Continue" features scenes from significant historical events, including: Martin Luther King, Jr. at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, and cockpit footage of Alan B. Shepard – the first American into space. "Let Us Continue," was written and produced by Rod Sterling and William Froug at the commission of the United States Information Agency, edited by Froug, and narrated by E.G. Marshall.
Thirty-sixth president of the United States, Lyndon Baines Johnson, was born on a hill country farm near Stonewall, Texas on August 27, 1908, to Samuel Ealy Johnson, a former Texas legislator, and Rebekah Baines Johnson. He attended Southwest Teachers College, now Texas State University, graduating with a degree in history and social science in 1930. LBJ spent one year as principal and teacher in Cotulla, educating impoverished Hispanic elementary school students. LBJ became the secretary to Texas Congressman Richard M. Kleberg in 1931; the four-year position helped him gain influential contacts in Washington. Johnson married Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Taylor on November 17, 1934.
 
LBJ acted as Director of the National Youth Administration in Texas from 1935 to 1937. Johnson won his first legislative election in 1937 for the Tenth Congressional District, a position he held for 11 years. He was a firm supporter of President Roosevelt’s New Deal and in 1940 acted as Chairman of the Democratic Campaign Committee. In 1948, following his service as a Lieutenant Naval Commander during World War II, LBJ ran as the Democratic nominee for Senate. In a cloud of controversy, he narrowly defeated former Texas Governor Coke Stevens and easily beat his Republican opponent in the general election. Before winning his second senate term, LBJ was elected Majority Whip in 1951, became the youngest ever Minority Senate Leader in 1953, and was voted Majority Leader in 1954. Johnson unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1960 but was selected to be Vice President under John F. Kennedy. 
 
Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as Commander and Chief aboard Air Force One following President Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, 1963, and won reelection in 1964. President Johnson passed landmark legislation with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Debate over military efforts in Vietnam intensified in late 1963 when the President stated that the United States would not withdraw from Southeast Asia. Escalation of the war against North Vietnam brought disapproval from Democrats, claiming the efforts were misguided, and from Republicans who criticized the administration for not executing sufficient military vigor. Antiwar protests, urban riots, and racial tension eroded Johnson’s political base by 1967, which further dissolved following the Tet Offensive in January 1968. On March 31, 1968, President Johnson announced that we would not seek a second presidential term.
 
After returning to Texas, Johnson oversaw the construction of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum on the University of Texas campus in Austin. Throughout his political career, LBJ was an influential figure in Texas affairs; his policies brought military bases, crop subsidies, government facilities, and federal jobs to the state. After suffering a massive heart attack, former President Johnson died at his ranch on January 22, 1973. In February of the same year, NASA’s Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston was renamed the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, in honor of one of the country’s most influential Texans.