American Rhetoric: Movie Speech
President Johnson Delivers 'Let Us Continue' Address to Congress
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.
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.
An assassin's bullet has thrust upon me the awesome burden of the presidency. And in this critical moment, it is our duty, yours and mine, as the government of the United States, to do away with uncertainty and doubt and delay, and to show that we are capable of decisive action; that from the brutal loss of our leader, we will derive not weakness but strength.
John Kennedy's death commands what his life conveyed: that America must move forward. The time has come for Americans of all races, and creeds, and political beliefs to understand and to respect one another. So let us put an end to the teaching and the preaching of hate, and evil, and violence.
I profoundly hope that the tragedy and the torment of these terrible days will bind us together in new fellowship, making us one people in our hour of sorrow. So let us here highly resolve that John Fitzgerald Kennedy did not live -- or die -- in vain.
No memorial oration or eulogy could more eloquently honor President Kennedy's memory than the earliest possible passage of the Civil Rights Bill for which he fought so long.
We have talked long enough in this country about equal rights.
We have talked for one hundred years or more.
It is time now to write the next chapter -- and to write it in the books of law.
On the 20th day of January in nineteen and sixty one, 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.