“There are no faint hearts in Fort Worth and I appreciate you being here this morning. Mrs. Kennedy is organizing herself. It takes longer, but of course, she looks better than we do when she does it.”—
President John F. Kennedy
A light rain was falling on Friday morning, November 22, but a crowd of several thousand stood in the parking lot outside the Texas Hotel where the Kennedys had spent the night. A platform was set up and the president, wearing no protection against the weather, came out to make some brief remarks. He opened with the words above and afterwards reached out to shake hands.
“And let me say to the Vietnam veterans gathered here today: When you returned home, you brought solace to the loved ones of those who fell, but little solace was given to you. Some of your countrymen were unable to distinguish between our native distaste for war and the stainless patriotism of those who suffered its scars. But there’s been a rethinking there, too. And now we can say to you, and say as a nation: Thank you for your courage. Thank you for being patient with your countrymen. Thank you. Thank you for continuing to stand with us together.”—President Reagan at the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. November 11, 1985.