Never, never quit
Today we are planting a tree to help us preserve memories of those who have been taken by a terrible disease that knows no boundaries including age and sex. This sickness commonly known as cancer can strike anyone at any place at any time.
In our imperfect world, after hundreds of years of civilization, we have devised methods to eliminate anything that lives except cancer. Every waking minute of every day, tens of thousands of scientists, using billions of dollars worth of laboratories and equipment, strain to find a method to destroy the killer. This is not to say there is no success; that frustration and defeat are the order of the day; that cancer will always prevail.
This is to say that events such as we have here today, cocktail parties, theater groups, athletic events and other gatherings and pleas for help by any mens are winning. Every day some number of people leave cancer treatment centers having passed many tests showing no signs of the illness. Unfortunately for the human race, some of these people are back in a year or five years or 10 years to fight the battle again.
This tree and each of its leaves (needles) is our message to the disease and those who seek to conquer it that there is no quitting here. We will give our money, our time and our thoughts to increase the effort. We will encourage our relatives, neighbors, associates and above all our children and the young people to continue and increase the effort.
Weeping, sadness, sorrow and bereavement are private emotions appropriate to the occasion. They are not soldiers against cancer. Physical and emotional strength, courage, resources, determination and even anger are our weapons and we must use them well. We will not quit; we will win.
Tree planting by cancer survivors, Betty Ford Gardens, July 26, 2003