Anecdotes

"I come from the very heart of America."

  - Guildhall Speech, London, June 12, 1945

"The proudest thing I can claim is that I am from Abilene."

  - Homecoming Speech, Abilene, Kansas, June 22, 1945

"Whatever America hopes to bring to pass in the world must first come to pass in the heart of America."

  - Inaugural Address, Washington, D.C., January 20, 1953

"For history does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid."

  - Inaugural Address, Washington, D.C., January 20, 1953

"A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both."

  - Inaugural Address, Washington, D.C., January 20, 1953

"There is - in world affairs - a steady course to be followed between an assertion of strength that is truculent and a confession of helplessness that is cowardly."

  - State of the Union Address, February 2, 1953

"Thank goodness, many years ago, I had a preceptor, for whom my admiration has never died, and he had a favorite saying, one that I trust I try to live by. It was: always take your job seriously, never yourself."


  - Address at the New England "Forward to '54" Dinner, Boston, Massachusetts, September 21, 1953

"I was raised in a little town of which most of you have never heard. But in the West it is a famous place. It is called Abilene, Kansas. We had as our marshal for a long time a man named Wild Bill Hickok. If you don't know anything about him, read your Westerns more. Now that town had a code, and I was raised as a boy to prize that code. It was: meet anyone face to face with whom you disagree. You could not sneak up on him from behind, or do any damage to him, without suffering the penalty of an outraged citizenry. If you met him face to face and took the same risks he did, you could get away with almost anything, as long as the bullet was in the front."

  - Remarks Upon Receiving America's Democratic Legacy Award at a B'nai B'rith Dinner in Honor of the 40th Anniversary of the Anti-Defamation League, November 23, 1953

"There is an old saw in the services: that which is not inspected deteriorates."

  - The President's News Conference of May 12, 1954

"Well, it is very important, and the great idea of setting up an organism is so as to defeat the domino result. When, each standing alone, one falls, it has the effect on the next, and finally the whole row is down. You are trying, through a unifying influence, to build that row of dominoes so they can stand the fall of one, if necessary."

  - The President's News Conference of May 12, 1954

"When I was a boy, I was one of six in my family. We had a quarrel daily as to who could go up and do the chore of bringing the groceries down home. They had a practice then, in grocery stores, that I understand growing efficiency has eliminated - always hoping that the grocer would say you can have one of the dried prunes out of the barrel over there. But better than that was the dill pickle jar that you could dive into, sometimes arm deep almost, and try to get one. I understand that they are not that accommodating anymore; we have got too efficient. When you go around picking things off the shelf, you pay for them. These, you understand, were free. That meant a lot to young boys to whom a nickel looked about as big as a wheel on a farm wagon."

  - Remarks at the Convention of the National Association of Retail Grocers, June 16, 1954

"Now I realize that on any particular decision a very great amount of heat can be generated. But I do say this: life is not made up of just one decision here, or another one there. It is the total of the decisions that you make in your daily lives with respect to politics, to your family, to your environment, to the people about you. Government has to do that same thing. It is only in the mass that finally philosophy really emerges."


  - Remarks at Luncheon Meeting of the Republican National Committee and the Republican National Finance Committee, February 17, 1955

"Today there is a great ideological struggle going on in the world. One side upholds what it calls the materialistic dialectic. Denying the existence of spiritual values, it maintains that man responds only to materialistic influences and consequently he is nothing. He is an educated animal and is useful only as he serves the ambitions - desires - of a ruling clique; though they try to make this finer-sounding than that, because they say their dictatorship is that of the proletariat, meaning that they rule in the people's name - for the people. Now, on our side, we recognize right away that man is not merely an animal, that his life and his ambitions have at the bottom a foundation of spiritual values."

  - Remarks at 11th Annual Washington Conference of the Advertising Council, March 22, 1955

"Some politician some years ago said that bad officials are elected by good voters who do not vote."

  - Remarks at the Breakfast Meeting of Republican State Chairmen, Denver, Colorado, September 10, 1955

"Change based on principle is progress. Constant change without principle becomes chaos."

  - Address at the Cow Palace on Accepting the Nomination of the Republican National Convention, August 23, 1956

"One American put it this way: 'Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it with the handle of anxiety or the handle of faith'."

  - Address at the Cow Palace on Accepting the Nomination of the Republican National Convention, August 23, 1956

"The world moves, and ideas that were good once are not always good."

  - The President's News Conference of August 31, 1956

"I believe when you are in any contest you should work like there is always to the very last minute a chance to lose it. This is battle, this is politics, this is anything. So I just see no excuse if you believe anything enough for not putting your whole heart into it. It is what I do."


  - The President's News Conference of September 27, 1956

"I belong to a family of boys who were raised in meager circumstances in central Kansas, and every one of us earned our way as we went along, and it never occurred to us that we were poor, but we were."

  - Television Broadcast: "The People Ask the President," October 12, 1956

"The hope of the world is that wisdom can arrest conflict between brothers. I believe that war is the deadly harvest of arrogant and unreasoning minds."


 - Address, National Education Association, Washington, D.C., April 4, 1957

"I tell this story to illustrate the truth of the statement I heard long ago in the Army: Plans are worthless, but planning is everything."

  - Remarks at the National Defense Executive Reserve Conference, November 14, 1957

"But these calculations overlook the decisive element: what counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight - it's the size of the fight in the dog."


  - Excerpts From Remarks at Republican National Committee Breakfast, January 31, 1958

"But finally, there is one other quality I would mention among these that I believe will fit you for difficult and important posts. This is a healthy and lively sense of humor."

  - Address at U. S Naval Academy Commencement, June 4, 1958

"A famous Frenchman once said, 'War has become far too important to entrust to the generals.' Today, business, I think, should be saying: 'Politics have become far too important to entrust to the politicians'."

  - Remarks, Business Council, Hot Springs, Virginia, October 20, 1962