Remarks at the Dedication Ceremony for the Army and Navy Club
Well, reverend clergy, General Hittle, General Dawson, Charles Graham, and ladies and gentlemen: In the old days, I'm told, the Army and Navy Club often invited their neighbor, the President, to all their parties. I've also heard that Benjamin Harrison and Grover Cleveland walked over for a toddy or two. Oh, for the good old days. [Laughter] If I'd known that the club was this beautiful, Nancy and I would have stopped by long ago, and we would even walk, if the Secret Service would let us.
Well, the word for today is: Congratulations! You've put together a beautiful building and an historic treasure. I'm amazed at your outstanding collection of art, particularly the De Welden sculptures. I've always wondered where old generals and admirals went when they ``just faded away.'' And now I know.
nothing is more important than keeping alive the gallant tradition of our armed
services -- a tradition that adds up to a word not just for today but for all
time: patriotism. As you know, I've visited our men and women in the armed
services and their families all around the world -- from Camp Liberty Bell on
the demilitarized zone in
I've got a report to bring you from the front. I've talked to admirals and
generals alike, on bases from
I was honored when you invited me to dedicate your new clubhouse, as the Army and Navy Club begins its second century. General Hittle assures me that I'm among friends. Then, I knew that already. No group of men and women has given more steadfast support to the Commander in Chief, no matter what his name was, no matter what party he represented. And I know I'll never forget the support that you've given me during some of my toughest hours as President. And so, I salute you not only for the help you've given me over the past 7 years but for the help your club has given my predecessors and will give my successors for generations to come.
Upstairs I couldn't help noticing the busts of President Eisenhower and President Truman, but when I saw that picture of General ``Hap'' Arnold standing in front of a B - 17, I had to resist the urge to snap to attention. You know, General Arnold was my boss some 40 years ago, and he ran a tough Air Force. Just ask the fellows on the other side.
Hittle told me, too, that Gary Cooper filmed many of
the scenes of ``The Billy Mitchell Court Martial'' right here at the club. But
he says that the members wouldn't let the cameras in until after , after the members had
gone to bed. Well, I'm grateful that you didn't impose that kind of schedule on
me. [Laughter] And I think
In December of 1885, according to your records, after the founders signed the papers of incorporation, they retired to a warm room to drink a toast: ``To the club.'' I'd like to repeat that salute with you today. For a century, the Army and Navy Club has played an important role in the life of the Republic. May the second century eclipse the first. And so, ladies and gentlemen, a salute: ``To the club.'' Thank you.
Note: The President spoke at in the dining room of the club. In his opening remarks, he referred to Brig. Gen. James D. Hittle, USMC, Ret.; Maj. Gen. Donald S. Dawson, USAF, Ret.; and Charles J. Graham; president, vice president, and general manager, respectively, of the club.