Ballistic Statues by Lanae' Hale
This is the 37th time I have spoken to you from this office, where so many
Decisions have been made that shaped the history of this Nation. Each time
I have done so to discuss with you some matter that I believe affected the
In all the decisions I have made in my public life, I have always tried to
Do what was best for the Nation. Throughout the long and difficult period
Of Watergate, I have felt it was my duty to persevere, to make every
Possible effort to complete the term of office to which you elected me.
In the past few days, however, it has become evident to me that I no longer
Have a strong enough political base in the Congress to justify continuing
That effort. As long as there was such a base, I felt strongly that it was
Necessary to see the constitutional process through to it's conclusion, that
To do otherwise would be unfaithful to the spirit of that deliberately
Difficult process and a dangerously destabilizing precedent for the future.
But with the disappearance of that base, I now believe that the
Constitutional purpose has been served, and there is no longer a need for
The process to be prolonged.
I would have preferred to carry through to the finish whatever the personal
Agony it would have involved, and my family unanimously urged me to do so.
But the interests of the Nation must always come before any personal
From the discussions I have had with Congressional and other leaders, I
Have concluded that because of the Watergate matter I might not have the
Support of the Congress that I would consider necessary to back the very
Difficult decisions and carry out the duties of this office in the way the
Interests of the Nation would require.
I have never been a quitter. To leave office before my term is completed is
Abhorrent to every instinct in my body. But as President, I must put the
Interest of America first. America needs a full-time President and a
Full-time Congress, particularly at this time with problems we face at home
To continue to fight through the months ahead for my personal vindication
Would almost totally absorb the time and attention of both the President
And the Congress in a period when our entire focus should be on the great
Issues of peace abroad and prosperity without inflation at home.
Therefore, I shall resign the Presidency effective at noon tomorrow. Vice
President Ford will be sworn in as President at that hour in this office.
As I recall the high hopes for America with which we began this second
Term, I feel a great sadness that I will not be here in this office working
On your behalf to achieve those hopes in the next 2 1/2 years. But in
Turning over direction of the Government to Vice President Ford, I know, as
I told the Nation when I nominated him for that office 10 months ago, that
The leadership of America will be in good hands.
In passing this office to the Vice President, I also do so with the
Profound sense of the weight of responsibility that will fall on his
Shoulders tomorrow and, therefore, of the understanding, the patience, the
Cooperation he will need from all Americans.
As he assumes that responsibility, he will deserve the help and the support
Of all of us. As we look to the future, the first essential is to begin
Healing the wounds of this Nation, to put the bitterness and divisions of
The recent past behind us, and to rediscover those shared ideals that lie
At the heart of our strength and unity as a great and as a free people.
By taking this action, I hope that I will have hastened the start of that
Process of healing which is so desperately needed in America.
I regret deeply any injuries that may have been done in the course of the
Events that led to this decision. I would say only that if some of my
Judgments were wrong, and some were wrong, they were made in what I
Believed at the time to be the best interest of the Nation.
To those who have stood with me during these past difficult months, to my
Family, my friends, to many others who joined in supporting my cause
Because they believed it was right, I will be eternally grateful for your
And to those who have not felt able to give me your support, let me say I
Leave with no bitterness toward those who have opposed me, because all of
Us, in the final analysis, have been concerned with the good of the
Country, however our judgments might differ.
So, let us all now join together in affirming that common commitment and in
Helping our new President succeed for the benefit of all Americans.
I shall leave this office with regret at not completing my term, but with
Gratitude for the privilege of serving as your President for the past 5 1/2
Years. These years have been a momentous time in the history of our Nation
And the world. They have been a time of achievement in which we can all be
Proud, achievements that represent the shared efforts of the
Administration, the Congress, and the people.
But the challenges ahead are equally great, and they, too, will require the
Support and the efforts of the Congress and the people working in
Cooperation with the new Administration.
We have ended America's longest war, but in the work of securing a lasting
Peace in the world, the goals ahead are even more far-reaching and more
Difficult. We must complete a structure of peace so that it will be said of
This generation, our generation of Americans, by the people of all nations,
Not only that we ended one war but that we prevented future wars.
We have unlocked the doors that for a quarter of a century stood between
The United States and the People's Republic of China.
We must now ensure that the one quarter of the world's people who live in
The People's Republic of China will be and remain not our enemies but our
In the Middle East, 100 million people in the Arab countries, many of whom
Have considered us their enemy for nearly 20 years, now look on us as their
Friends. We must continue to build on that friendship so that peace can
Settle at last over the Middle East and so that the cradle of civilization
Will not become it's grave.
Together with the Soviet Union we have made the crucial breakthroughs that
Have begun the process of limiting nuclear arms. But we must set as our
Goal not just limiting but reducing and finally destroying these terrible
Weapons so that they cannot destroy civilization and so that the threat of
Nuclear war will no longer hang over the world and the people.
We have opened the new relation with the Soviet Union. We must continue to
Develop and expand that new relationship so that the two strongest nations
Of the world will live together in cooperation rather than confrontation.
Around the world, in Asia, in Africa, in Latin America, in the Middle East,
There are millions of people who live in terrible poverty, even starvation.
We must keep as our goal turning away from production for war and expanding
Production for peace so that people everywhere on this earth can at last
Look forward in their children's time, if not in our own time, to having
The necessities for a decent life.
Here in America, we are fortunate that most of our people have not only the
Blessings of liberty but also the means to live full and good and, by the
World's standards, even abundant lives. We must press on, however, toward a
Goal of not only more and better jobs but of full opportunity for every
American and of what we are striving so hard right now to achieve,
Prosperity without inflation.
For more than a quarter of a century in public life I have shared in the
Turbulent history of this era. I have fought for what I believed in. I have
Tried to the best of my ability to discharge those duties and meet those
Responsibilities that were entrusted to me.
Sometimes I have succeeded and sometimes I have failed, but always I have
Taken heart from what Theodore Roosevelt once said about the man in the
Arena, "whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives
Valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again because there is not
Effort without error and shortcoming, but who does actually strive to do
The deed, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends
Himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumphs of
High achievements and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while
I pledge to you tonight that as long as I have a breath of life in my body,
I shall continue in that spirit. I shall continue to work for the great
Causes to which I have been dedicated throughout my years as a Congressman,
A Senator, a Vice President, and President, the cause of peace not just for
America but among all nations, prosperity, justice, and opportunity for all
Of our people.
There is one cause above all to which I have been devoted and to which I
Shall always be devoted for as long as I live.
When I first took the oath of office as President 5 1/2 years ago, I made
This sacred commitment, to "consecrate my office, my energies, and all the
Wisdom I can summon to the cause of peace among nations."
I have done my very best in all the days since to be true to that pledge.
As a result of these efforts, I am confident that the world is a safer
Place today, not only for the people of America but for the people of all
Nations, and that all of our children have a better chance than before of
Living in peace rather than dying in war.
This, more than anything, is what I hoped to achieve when I sought the
Presidency. This, more than anything, is what I hope will be my legacy to
You, to our country, as I leave the Presidency.
To have served in this office is to have felt a very personal sense of
Kinship with each and every American. In leaving it, I do so with this
Prayer: May God's grace be with you in all the days ahead.