Thank you all very much.
Mayor, thank you. Thank you very much, Mayor Hampton.
And let me say to all of you, please be seated.
[Laughter] Sorry about that. What a great day in
Faith, and what a wonderful way to get here: play a
couple of innings of ball, eat a little barbecue,
drink a little of that wine or whatever they call it
over there. [Laughter] Really, we're thrilled to be
here, and thank you for that very, very warm welcome.
I say warm, I use the term advisedly. [Laughter]
I'll tell you a little
Trivial Pursuit: Fifty years ago almost to this day, I
was a naval aviation cadet at Chapel Hill, North
Carolina. That was my first taste of North Carolina
hospitality, and this is my last and my very best up
till now. So thank you all very, very much.
It's great to see our
Governor here, doing a superb job for this State.
You'll miss him in the governorship, but we've got to
keep him active. He's done a great job for the State
of North Carolina. May I pay my respects to another
man I've been with shoulder to shoulder, Congressman
Coble here, and just say to all of you, Daisy Bost and
all that worked on this program, what a magnificent
show this is. The Governor is right: We are proud to
be in Faith, North Carolina, and proud to see this
spirit alive and well.
I didn't hear the East Rowan
High School Marching Band, but somebody -- here they
are right here. Fantastic.
But this is a very special
American day. I just came from the races down there in
Daytona, and we saluted the king, a son of North
Carolina, Richard Petty. Dale Earnhardt, Dale showed
us around and explained it, so it's been a great big
high of a day for me here.
This one is a picture
postcard holiday setting. You've got it all with the
Little League and the softball games and the
wheelbarrow races and the parade down Main Street. Now
I'll be very short because I want to go over and try
the bungee jumping. [Laughter] No, Barbara said it's
okay to throw your hat in the ring, but not the whole
But we meet today in the
State that gave birth to flight way back a thousand
years ago, and on the day when the eagle soars
proudest of all. We meet in smalltown America, in many
ways, as I survey our great country, in many ways the
spiritual heart of all America.
Several miles up the road is
Salisbury, home to our friend Liddy Dole and home to
Cheerwine -- [laughter] -- and a little east, Siler
City, where television's Aunt Bea is buried. I've
always wondered if Aunt Bea were with us today, if
she'd be serving broccoli. I hope not. [Laughter]
Not every place in America is
like these wonderful towns, but its values can and
should be because the values that the Mayor mentioned,
the values the Governor talked about, the values that
you hold dear are the values that hold our entire
country together. And we never should forget that.
When I go back to Washington,
Barbara and I, we have about an hour and a half, I
believe it is, maybe a couple of hours at the airport.
Then we fly to Poland, where I'll stand shoulder to
shoulder Sunday morning with Lech Walesa, the
President. Remember him? The guy that stood up for
freedom when nobody else could do it in Poland? Stood
up and took the heat, and now Poland is free. He looks
to the United States, and he says, ``Above all the
countries, it was the United States of America that
stood with me and offered me the hope for freedom.''
You know what it means to be
good neighbors. You know what it is to have families,
strong and united; good schools; safe neighborhoods;
job-creating economy; and a world at peace. Now, you
go over to the Faith Soda Shop or the Hairport or
R&I Variety, and you'll see the values that can
achieve these goals. One is faith in self-reliance.
You believe in equal rights for all Americans. Don't
let anybody knock your town; you stand with me against
bigotry and against racism. You believe in what is
good and what is right.
Some regard principles as
disposable, like TV dinners, but they couldn't be more
wrong. Let others support some of this -- films and
the programs which mock small-town America. But I
stand with the millions who support your America. And
there's nothing wrong with a Nation more like
Salisbury or Faith, North Carolina. And believe me,
carry those principles with you.
It's not just the name of the
town, but from this springs another smalltown virtue:
We believe America is special because of fidelity to
God. We have not forgotten that we are one Nation
under God, and that's an important thing to point out
on July 4th.
I heard from the Mayor that
there are 553, technically, 553 residents. But she
tells me that on Sunday more than 800 attend church
services, and that's pretty good out of a town of 553.
Think of that. You show why, according to a Gallup
poll, America is the most religious nation on Earth.
Remember the small boy
expressing that conviction: ``God bless Mother and
Daddy, my brother and sister.'' And he says, ``Oh, and
God, take care of yourself because if anything happens
to you, we're all sunk.'' [Laughter] And that kid is
right, just as right as he can be.
So, the American people
really have mountains of faith. And I believe the God
who gave us life also gave us liberty. So again, I'd
like to use this wonderful occasion, this national
holiday, perhaps our greatest, to call on the Congress
to pass a constitutional amendment permitting
voluntary prayer in the public schools.
Barbara and I were talking
earlier to people for whom every day is the Fourth of
July. They don't apologize for the choking up when you
hear ``The Star-Spangled Banner'' or standing at
attention when you say the Pledge of Allegiance. And
they don't apologize for the lump in the throat when a
few blocks away over here on Gantt Street in the
American Legion building they visit a monument
dedicated to the veterans, the living and the dead, of
every American war.
Here in Faith, memories run
long, just as principles run deep. And Jim touched on
it, but you know how to answer those who say that the
success of Desert Storm should be forgotten. But look,
you had 76,000, as he said, troops in this one State,
deployed from North Carolina. I don't think Saddam
Hussein -- who might by now have nuclear weapons, or
if we hadn't challenged him we'd all be paying $10 for
gas as he moved into Saudi Arabia -- I don't think he
doubts for a minute the will and the strength and the
patriotism of the American people.
I know very well our veterans
haven't forgotten it, those courageous, the best
fighting forces we've ever put together. We stay
together. I told Howard Coble -- I sometimes risk
being a little personal. But I was shot down in World
War II, and I learned something. I learned something
in combat: The wingman doesn't pull away from the
flight leader. When I was shot down into the Pacific,
it was my teammates, one located my raft, another shot
down a boat that was put out from a Japanese island,
and I learned this: We are a team. We're a united
country. When the going gets tough, we get moving. We
don't apologize, and we don't quit. We never quit. And
we don't forget the POW's and the MIA's, I might add,
either. We're with them.
Eisenhower spoke of ``the
great and priceless privilege of growing up in a small
town.'' Well, Barbara and I are privileged to be in a
small town that proves how right Ike was.
And ours is a nation, believe
me, ours is a nation whose best days lie ahead. These
kids here can go to bed at night with less fear of
nuclear war because we've been here.
Now we've got to keep moving
and bring that change to everybody in America that
wants opportunity. And we can do it. Why? Because on
this special day of freedom we are still the United
States of America: nothing to apologize for,
everything to be proud of.
Thank you, and God bless each
and every one of you.
Note: The President spoke at
3:07 p.m. at Legion Park. In his remarks, he referred
to Mayor Judy Hampton of Faith; Daisy Bost, program
coordinator for the Independence Day celebration in
Faith; Dale Earnhardt, NASCAR driver and Winston Cup
champion; Elizabeth Hanford Dole, president of the
American Red Cross; and the late Frances Bavier,