Public Papers of Lyndon B. Johnson, 1965

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Author: Lyndon B. Johnson  | Date: May 8, 1965

236
Remarks by Telephone for the Dedication of the Sam Rayburn Dam in Texas.
May 8, 1965

Hello there, Jack Brooks and Charlotte, Senator Yarborough, General Free, Bill Weed, and my beloved friend Mrs. Bartley:

This is a very happy and proud occasion for me and for the people of southeast Texas and for the entire Nation.

Having worked with all of you from the earliest beginnings of this project which you are dedicating there today, I deeply regret that the official duties that I have here this weekend make it absolutely impossible for me to join with you this morning in your celebration which I had planned for so long to attend.

Jack and Charlotte have talked to me for several months about this occasion and LadyBird and I had looked forward to being there and enjoying it with all of you. Perhaps you will give us a rain check and we can come back another day.

This dam and reservoir fulfill the foresight and the vision of many citizens who saw many years ago the necessity and the opportunity of developing the basin of the Neches and Angelina Rivers. The list is long of private citizens to whom credit is due. Certainly particular credit goes to the energy and the enterprise of your own very able and effective Congressman and my longtime good friend, Jack Brooks. Day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, I was almost afraid to meet Jack in the corridor or on the street for fear that he had one more errand that he wanted me to run in connection with this authorization and appropriation.

Without the patience, the perseverance, the will, and the determination of Congressman Brooks, this important achievement might not yet be a reality. He had the support of the Texas delegation, including Mr. Rayburn, your own very able senior Senator Ralph Yarborough, and all the rest of us in doing our little bit to help bring this about, but it is chiefly through his own efforts that it is a monument to him as well as to Mr. Rayburn.

I think it is especially appropriate that this dam should bear the name of that great American, Sam Rayburn.

As speaker of the Texas House, he was a friend of my father when I was born. Later, as Speaker of the House in Congress, Mr. Rayburn became my teacher and my counselor. My personal debt to him is great and I am so proud to be able to participate in perpetuating his memory so appropriately when his sister is able to be present.

Through his lifetime, Mr. Rayburn was a strong and tireless supporter of our Nation’s efforts to conserve and to develop the bountifulness with which we are now endowed. This continuing effort, through many generations, has contributed greatly to the strength and the success in the challenging years of the 20th century.

No single resource is more important to us than water. Our management of America’s water resources is basic to the success in meeting the many obligations and opportunities of our growing population.

Water has always been a first concern of the Western and Southwestern States. Today, no region in the Nation can afford to take water for granted because from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast, the urbanization and the industrialization are creating a mighty and great thirst for water and more water.

I don’t think any of you really know how much you are contributing to industrialization of your wonderful east Texas area by the attention that you are giving the water resources of that area. And no two men in the entire Congress are more active in water resource legislation than Jack Brooks and Ralph Yarborough, and I know all Texans are proud of that.

If this thirst is not satisfied by positive and constructive and timely action, we could experience very grave trouble in fulfilling the promises and potentials of American life.

I believe there are at least 10 objectives that we should set for ourselves and we should strive continuously to reach. If you will give me a moment, I would like to point them out:

We must control flooding on our rivers and our streams.

We must assure an ample supply of good water for domestic and municipal and industrial and agricultural use.

We must purge our rivers and harbors of pollution.We must further develop our navigation systems.

We must develop more fully our Nation’s great hydroelectric power potential.

We must provide increasingly for water-oriented outdoor recreation of all kinds.

We must be good stewards of our irreplaceable fish and our wildlife heritage.

We must conserve and enhance the grandeur of natural environments and make them more beautiful and make them more accessible to all of our families of this land.

We must preserve and create beauty throughout the land.

Finally, we cannot afford to approach any part of our overall water resources development program on a single-purpose, or a single-interest basis. If all the requirements that confront us are to be satisfied, none of us can afford to be selfish. We must all learn to share this limited resource to attain the greatest good for the greatest number of people.

"The greatest good for the greatest number" was the personal creed by which Sam Rayburn lived and by which Jack Brooks and Ralph Yarborough and the rest of us try to work and serve our Nation. That creed is an appropriate and fitting guide for us as we work together in unity to make life better throughout our land, and to make life safer and happier and more hopeful throughout the world.

We of our generation bear a high and noble trust. The burdens are heavy. The demands are many. But we shall not fail. Where the word of America has been pledged, as we have demonstrated this last week, it will be honored. Where freedom is in danger, it will be defended. Always and forever wherever there is an opportunity to make peace, America will be represented.

So I take great personal pride now in dedicating to the service of the American people and to the strength of the American Nation the Sam Rayburn Dam and Reservoir.

Thank you, my good friends of Texas. I am so sorry I am not there with you now.

NOTE: The President spoke by telephone at 12:47 p.m. from the Cabinet Room at the White House to the group assembled at the site of the Sam Rayburn Dam in Texas. In his opening words he referred to Jack Brooks, Representative from Texas, and his wife, Charlotte, Ralph Yarborough, Senator from Texas, Brig. Gen. Richard H. Free, Division Engineer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Ft. Worth (Texas) District, W. F. Weed, President of the Lower Neches Valley Authority, and Mrs. Samuel E. Bartley, sister of Mr. Rayburn.

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Chicago: Lyndon B. Johnson, "236 Remarks by Telephone for the Dedication of the Sam Rayburn Dam in Texas.," Public Papers of Lyndon B. Johnson, 1965 in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, 1965 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), P.1168 510–511. Original Sources, accessed June 25, 2024, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=3VBFXTMHERHH3KB.

MLA: Johnson, Lyndon B. "236 Remarks by Telephone for the Dedication of the Sam Rayburn Dam in Texas." Public Papers of Lyndon B. Johnson, 1965, in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, 1965 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), P.1168, pp. 510–511. Original Sources. 25 Jun. 2024. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=3VBFXTMHERHH3KB.

Harvard: Johnson, LB, '236 Remarks by Telephone for the Dedication of the Sam Rayburn Dam in Texas.' in Public Papers of Lyndon B. Johnson, 1965. cited in , Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, 1965 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), P.1168, pp.510–511. Original Sources, retrieved 25 June 2024, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=3VBFXTMHERHH3KB.