Public Papers of Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1957

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Author: Dwight D. Eisenhower  | Date: October 14, 1957

214
Remarks at the President’s Birthday Celebration at the White House.
October 14, 1957

Mr. Chairman, Mr. Vice President and My Friends:

Any American would be deeply touched to know that so many people would take the time out of their busy lives to come and wish him a Happy Birthday when another of these anniversaries rolls around. This morning I think I really understood for the first time that 67 is a rather large number. There were 67 roses in one vase in my office, and I think I never saw a larger bouquet of roses. So I realize that if friends come to see you according to the number of your birthdays that at least I have got a good average number, even if I am 67.

I am very deeply concerned in the story that Meade Alcorn was telling us about the neighbor to neighbor campaign. I believe that the very finest publicity in the world is that brought to us by someone who believes, someone who cares enough to come and tell us about a subject that is important to him and to us. When those subjects are so important that they touch upon the whole life of a nation, then it becomes almost a civic responsibility. Certainly it becomes a great civic opportunity to go and tell someone about the convictions you have reached based upon truth, fact and study.

As I look forward into these next three years—if the Lord be willing to spare me that long—it seems to me that more and more we are forced to conclude that the problems we face are not those of partisanship but of Americanism. I am very proud of the Republican Party and what I believe to be its determination—its desire to rise above mere partisanship and to serve the nation, never to end in its work of promoting its civic beliefs, convictions, enterprises, and activities. They make us stronger among ourselves at home, in our economy, and give us greater prestige, security and influence abroad.

America has no limit to what we shall be in this world as a socialorganism, as a great leader among peoples. Her civilization, based upon a deeply-felt religious faith, is one that must be spread to others, particularly its advantages—material and cultural. It must be done on a voluntary basis. We must make ourselves available to our fellowmen to help them, if we ourselves are going to develop.

So this neighbor to neighbor program seems to me is not merely you visiting over the back fence with your neighbor, reaching common conclusions about something; it is national in scope; it is state to state, section to section, where we must wipe out differences based upon prejudice, unreasoning adherence to our own common conclusions about something; it is national in scope; it is international. We serve our nation and ourselves when we learn more about another country, no matter how small or how remote, when we learn more about how to help that country—and in so doing, we help ourselves.

So on this 67th birthday, if I could voice a wish—and I think it would be the wish of every single one of you—it would be that each of us in the spirit of neighbor to neighbor will be of greater usefulness to our neighbors—geographical neighbors—to our state—our nation—and the world.

And now, in thanking you for your magnificent cake, even with grandchildren with voracious appetites, I am quite sure that I cannot be expected to consume this all within the few hours left to October 14th, so I think if you would allow us to have a proper token portion so that we can say that we ate of this beautiful—looking confection, if you would send the rest of it to the hospitals of Washington, myself and my family would be deeply pleased.

Thank each of you for coming here. It has been a wonderful experience.

NOTE: The President spoke on the south lawn of the White House at 4:00 p.m. The President’s opening words "Mr. Chairman" referred to Meade Alcorn, Chairman of the Republican National Committee.

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Chicago: Dwight D. Eisenhower, "214 Remarks at the President’s Birthday Celebration at the White House.," Public Papers of Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1957 in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1957 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), Pp.852-853 739. Original Sources, accessed February 4, 2023, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=94QLP189QWXA7KY.

MLA: Eisenhower, Dwight D. "214 Remarks at the President’s Birthday Celebration at the White House." Public Papers of Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1957, in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1957 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), Pp.852-853, page 739. Original Sources. 4 Feb. 2023. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=94QLP189QWXA7KY.

Harvard: Eisenhower, DD, '214 Remarks at the President’s Birthday Celebration at the White House.' in Public Papers of Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1957. cited in , Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1957 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), Pp.852-853, pp.739. Original Sources, retrieved 4 February 2023, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=94QLP189QWXA7KY.