I’d rather give my life than be afraid to give it.

Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973) American politician, educator, US President (1963-69)
(Attributed (1963))

Recounted about Johnson, when he (among other dignitaries) rejected advice from the Secret Service not to march publicly in John F. Kennedy's funeral procession (1963-11-25), in the face of various warnings of further violence or assassination attempts.

According to William Manchester in his extensive The Death of a President, Book 2, ch. 10 (1967), Johnson was actually speaking to his military aide, Col. William Jackson, and said,

You damned bastards are trying to take over. If I listen to you, I'll be led to stupid, indecent decisions. I'm going to walk.

This reaction may have been in part due to a previous episode in the book; after the leaving Parkland Hospital in Dallas to head for a flight to the White House, Johnson had been unceremoniously stuffed into one car by his lead Secret Service agent, forced to crouch below the level of the window, and his wife put in the following car as a decoy for other potential assassins.

Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 20-Oct-23
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