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A bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives stood firmly for a strong national defense. In so doing, that majority earned the thanks of all Americans who recognize that a strong America is indispensable if we are to succeed in building lasting peace in the world.

On the issue of a strong America, the Congress should not be separated by party labels, but united as patriotic Americans. The same should be true of all of us as citizens, and especially so on a day like this. Today, on this Memorial Day 1974, we can all be thankful that for the first time in 12 years, there are no Americans fighting anywhere in the world.

What we do with this peace — whether we preserve it and defend it, or whether we lose it and let it slip away — will be the measure of our worthiness of the spirit and sacrifice of the hundreds of thousands who gave their lives in two World Wars, Korea, and in Vietnam.

I believe that we can be worthy of that challenge, because I believe that for the first time in this century, thanks to the sacrifices of the past and because of our determination to stay strong now and in the future, we can keep the peace they gave their lives to win for us.

Peace is the real and right memorial for those who have died in war. They wanted and they deserve a world in which their brothers and sisters and their children and grandchildren will never have to be called upon, as they were, to fight for peace. Let that be the memorial we seek to build for them, and let us work together — the president, the people, the Congress — to build it in the months and years ahead.