November 27, 1963
To American Foundation Field Associates:
While we have all been heavy-hearted this past weekend over the tragic death of our President and though we have grieved as fellow Americans upon the untimely loss of so young a leader, still the resurgence of business yesterday verifies the fact that life does go on and will go on in spite of temporary though monumental setbacks.
This has been a time of great sorrow but it has also been a time of deep reflection, for we all must bear the responsibility for what has happened. It could have happened here in Little Rock, or New York, or Paris, or anywhere. The great lesson is that while we disagree in methods we are at one in brotherly love and compassion for the other man. You who are so generous in your thought and work know this and experience this more than any other group in business. So what you think and do and say now are important not only to your own family, but to the community at large.
We here at the home office stopped our work to attend by television the funeral of our fallen President. It was interesting to note that many who had never been inside a Catholic Church sat in silence and devotion through an entire funeral mass. Somehow it helped us all and later when I had an opportunity to talk to our home office associates, I called this to their attention, saying that there was much good in every Church whether it be Catholic, Jewish, or Protestant. This is what I mean by common understanding and brotherly love.
The free world looks to us for leadership. That is why other nations have grieved with us. Even the children of the world wept with us; schools were closed from India to Argentina.
However, as individuals and as business leaders we must go on. We must be confident that there is a future, a bright future for all of us. Yesterday's market reaction proved that business will continue to be good in this country ond that, indeed, there is still a wonderful future ahead. Jobs are safe. Crops are good. Industrial activity is at a peak. Life goes on, Governmont goes on, Business goes on.
Thus it is with a great sense of elevation, loyalty, and understanding that we now express our confidence in our new President, Lyndon Baines Johnson. Mr. Johnson is a capable leader with superb ability. In my opinion he will be one of the great Presidents of our age. With this in mind I have telegraphed and written him my support. I hope you are motivated to write Mr. Johnson in a similar vein for now is the time to demonstrate our sense of duty by rallying the entire country behind our new President.
Sudden events that tend to rock and reel the earth will inevitably happen. But if we remain steadfast in our thoughts and our ideals, if we keep busy with our families and business responsibilities, we will emerge more prosperous, more self confident and with greater character than we otherwise could ever have achieved.
To you and yours we wish a thoughtful and grateful Thanksgiving.
Frank Whitbeck, CLU
From the Earl Cabell Collection, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University. Used with permission.