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Remarks at the Dedication of a Memorial Plaque Honoring Pvt. Leslie Coffelt

May 21, 1952

THANK YOU very much, Captain. I certainly appreciate your thoughtfulness in placing this plaque on the Blair House. It commemorates an event about which I do not like to think. It taught me a very good lesson, that the President is well and amply guarded by good and brave men, both in uniform and in the Secret Service.

This young man, to whom this plaque is erected, was one of the most pleasant officers on the force--and one of the ablest.
It brought home to me the fact that it is not the President who is in danger on occasions of this kind, but it is the men guard him.

And I want to say to you that I have extremely cooperative with the guards since this event took place, and I shall continue to be just that way until I am through with this office. Not because I am afraid of being shot at--I have been shot at by experts-but I do not want to endanger the lives of the men who spend their lives guarding the President of the United States.

Thank you again very much for this memorial plaque.

NOTE: The President spoke at 12:40 p.m. at the Blair House in Washington. In his opening words he referred to Capt. Russell B. Wine, U.S. Army, national president of the National Sojourners. Private Coffelt, a member of the White House Police, was killed during the assassination attempt on the President on November 1, 1950. For an account of the incident, see 1950 volume, this series, Item 278 ftn. (p. 695).

The plaque was presented by the National Sojourners, a patriotic military Masonic organization. Private Coffelt was a Mason.