FEBRUARY 23, 1960
NEW YORK—We have just celebrated George Washington's birthday, a day on which most children in our country rejoice because, as a rule, they do not have to go to school!
They should, however, know the story of the father of their country. As the years go by, he becomes more of a legendary figure, but his qualities of character and mind are just as important for every one of us to know and appreciate today as they were when, as commander of our troops, he gained our freedom and established the government which developed from a weak nation of 13 colonies into a great world power.
If we all bear in mind the kind of men who founded our nation and if we study their characters and the ideals by which they lived, we will be better judges in choosing public officials today. The qualifications of the past are as essential today as they were when our nation was struggling for survival.
George Washington deserves our respect and admiration as his anniversary is celebrated each year.
Tomorrow (February 24) a man who has served his country well will reach his 75th birthday. He is the Navy's only living five-star officer.
Admiral Chester Nimitz was commander-in-chief of the United States forces in the Pacific in World War II and directed a successful Navy and amphibious war in that area. When he left active duty, he sent an interesting paper to the Secretary of the Navy outlining his views on the functions of naval and air forces in maintaining the future security of the U.S. He reviewed the past and present, and his early realization of the teamwork essential between the Navy and air forces showed foresight and imagination.
Admiral Nimitz was born in Texas and graduated from the Naval Academy, and he had a long and distinguished naval career. He received recognition "for exceptional and meritorious service, U.S. Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean areas, from June 1944 to August 1945."
He received a gold star to replace a third distinguished service medal, of which he already held two. This was presented to him on October 5, 1945, by President Truman personally and the citation lists the many historic events of that period for which he was responsible. He later received another gold star in lieu of his fourth distinguished service medal.
Admiral Nimitz also served the United Nations well and faithfully, and it is hoped that this 75th birthday will bring to him warm recognition from many of his friends and from the nation as a whole as an expression of deep gratitude for service performed above and beyond the line of duty on many occasions.
I think he would like us to remember the last verse of an amusing poem written by Captain William G. Beecher Jr. It reads:
Are anchored in Tokyo Bay;
The place is just dripping
They stretch for a hell of a way;
We hear that the fighting is finished
And that is the way it should be;
Remember Pearl Harbor—they started it then,
We are warning them never to start it again;
For we have a country with millions of men
Like Nimitz and Halsey and me.