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[VIDEO] May 23, 1964 | LBJ Dedicates Marshall Library at VMI

May 23, 1964 - President Johnson pledged today to “carry on the vision of the Marshall Plan” by continuing to “build bridges across the gulf which has divided us from Eastern Europe.”

The U.S. is committed, he said, “to use every peaceful means to work with friends and allies so that all of Europe may be joined in a shared society of freedom.”

That commitment was stated by President Kennedy in a speech at the Free University of West Berlin last June 26. Johnson, in effect, was committing his own Administration to the position Kennedy had taken.

Johnson chose the dedication ceremony for the George C. Marshall Research Library at the Virginia Military Institute for this major statement of his attitude toward the Eastern European members of the Soviet bloc.

Sharing the platform with him on the institute’s parade ground were General Dwight D. Eisenhower and General Omar Bradley, both former commanders under General Marshall, a graduate of VMI.

A crowd estimated at about 10,000 was seated on the parade ground, and the institute’s corps of cadets sat nearby. Upon his arrival by helicopter from Roanoke, Johnson received a 21-gun salute and then reviewed an honor guard of cadets.

He also got a mighty cheer from the cadets when he asked Governor Albertis Harrison of Virginia to direct the institute’s superintendent to declare an amnesty on cadet demerits. About 50 cadets benefited, it was reported, and at least three may have been saved from dismissal.

In his speech, the President, terming General Marshall “among the noblest Americans of them all,” said that he was “not only a great soldier, not only a great statesman; he was first and foremost a great man.”



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