THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT IN TELEPHONE CALL WITH REPRESENTATIVE VOLKMER FOR REDEDICATION AND RELIGHTING OF LIGHTHOUSE ON CARDISS HILL IN HANNIBAL, MISSOURI Camp David, Maryland
10:45 P.M. EDT
REPRESENTATIVE VOLKMER: Mr. President?
THE PRESIDENT: Harold, how are you?
REPRESENTATIVE VOLKMER: Just fine, Mr. President. Thank you very much.
THE PRESIDENT: It's great to hear your voice.
REPRESENTATIVE VOLKMER: It's great to be here. Can everybody hear me? (Applause.) Can you hear the President? (Applause.)
Okay, Mr. President, we've got a nice crowd here and we're getting ready to light this lighthouse in memory and to remember Mark Twain, on behalf of Mark Twain, our favorite son.
THE PRESIDENT: Let me tell you, first of all, I'm glad to be back in Hannibal again, at least by telephone. I had a wonderful, wonderful visit there.
REPRESENTATIVE VOLKMER: Yes, we well remember, and we're almost in the very same spot that you were in at that time. Just a little bit up the street, not very far.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I'm a great admirer of Mark Twain, and I read him as a boy and read him as an adult. So I'm very happy to be part of it. And I know that President Roosevelt in 1935 and President Kennedy in 1963 also played a role in this memorial lighthouse. So I'm glad to be a part of that history of your community. And I'm also glad to be back with all the enthusiastic people who live there. I remember them so well, and I want to congratulate you and the citizens of Hannibal and Marion County and also the Missouri Department of Natural Resources for all the work you've done to restore the lighthouse. It really symbolizes the community and your vision and the great history of Mark Twain.
REPRESENTATIVE VOLKMER: Thank you very much, Mr. President. And I just want to wish you a very nice, a very -- maybe restful Fourth of July. I know we're all going to be back here in Hannibal enjoying our festivities. And our thoughts will be with you. And we really appreciate what you're doing here this evening.
THE PRESIDENT: I'm really glad to be here. My family and I are up in Camp David, and we're having a wonderful time and looking forward to celebrating our nation's birthday and watching our soccer team play. But I'm really glad I got to do this. I love Hannibal. I think it's one of the greatest places I've been. And as I said, it's captured my imagination ever since I was a little boy. So I'm delighted to be a part of this.
REPRESENTATIVE VOLKMER. And we look forward to sometime in the future of seeing you back here, Mr. President -- not just by telephone call but in person. And we really look forward to it. We have appreciated your being here also.
THE PRESIDENT: Are you going to light the candle, is that what you're going to do? Everybody going to light a candle?
REPRESENTATIVE VOLKMER: Well, we're ready. I'd like to -- for you to, if you have --
THE PRESIDENT: I've got it.
REPRESENTATIVE VOLKMER: I'd like for you to say just hello to the young lady, Carol Miller, who's been responsible really, along with a lot of other people, who really headed this up. And I'd like for you, Mr. President, just to say hello to her, if you would, in just moment.
MS. MILLER: Hello.
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Carol. Congratulations on all the work you've done. You're the director of the Main Street Program, aren't you?
MS. MILLER: I am --
THE PRESIDENT: I love that program. And I tell you, you've done a wonderful job there.
MS. MILLER: Well, thank you. I wish I could take all the credit, but I can't. It's truly a community effort. We have a great crew behind us, a great Main Street Program and great architects, and we've done it together.
THE PRESIDENT: Good for you. Well, I'm glad to be a part of it. And I'm really glad that Congressman Volkmer gave me a chance to call in tonight.
MS. MILLER: Well, we sure appreciate his assistance on this project as well.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.
Are we ready to light it?
THE PRESIDENT: Are you ready? I've got a candle here.
MS. MILLER: Okay, I'm going to hand you back to Congressman Volkmer.
REPRESENTATIVE VOLKMER: All right, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: You'll have to visualize my candle, folks, but I've got one here. (Laughter.)
REPRESENTATIVE VOLKMER: We're ready. Our thoughts are with you as well as your thoughts are with us. We have a -- by the way, we have a very pleasant evening here in Hannibal. It's nice and cool. We're not really used to this kind of weather around the Fourth of July, as you know, in the Midwest. But it's a very pleasant evening.
So everybody's very anxious. Everybody's looking up to the hill -- up to Cardiss Hill, and we're waiting for the light to go on. And I'm sure it's just going to be in a few minutes, seconds.
Now, the lights are going up right now. What we have is the Boy Scouts, all of them down -- right up the hill, and they're lining up and -- by candle -- one candle lit, then another, then another.
And by the way, I'd like to mention to you that we have a couple people that are here on a platform with me that back in 1963, when President Kennedy performed the same service that you're being so good enough to do for us, back in '63 -- we have two people here that were Boy Scouts at the time, they were holding those candles -- one is the Mayor, as you will remember, Richard Schwartz, our Mayor.
THE PRESIDENT: I remember the Mayor well, yes.
REPRESENTATIVE VOLKMER: And the other is Henry Sweets, who you met when you were here. He's the Curator of the Mark Twain Home and Museum. So you've met both of those gentlemen -- and they have some fond memories of that wax coming down on their hands as they waited for it to go all the way up the hill. (Laughter.)
REPRESENTATIVE VOLKMER: We're king of enjoying this ourselves. I'm taking a little time off. I have two of my grandchildren out here with me from Virginia, along with my wife, Shirley. And they're taking in the festivities as well.
THE PRESIDENT: That's good. Well, tell Shirley and your grandchildren hello. I know it's good to have them there for the Fourth of July.
REPRESENTATIVE VOLKMER: Yes, it is. The grandchildren jumped frogs this morning, and they're going to be in a parade come Monday.
THE PRESIDENT: They jumped frogs, is that --
REPRESENTATIVE VOLKMER: Oh, yes. Yes, we have a frogjumping contest.
THE PRESIDENT: I used to be in one of those every year.
REPRESENTATIVE VOLKMER: Is that right?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, we've got a ferry about 30 miles from Little Rock in Arkansas, called Toad Suck Ferry, and every year we had a Toad Suck Day, and we all raced our frogs.
REPRESENTATIVE VOLKMER: Very good.
THE PRESIDENT: I never won, but I always loved it. (Laughter.) I competed every year, but I never won.
REPRESENTATIVE VOLKMER: All right, they're ready to go.
THE PRESIDENT: We're ready.
REPRESENTATIVE VOLKMER: Anytime you're ready to light, we're ready to light.
THE PRESIDENT: I have just lit my candle.
REPRESENTATIVE VOLKMER: Very good. Let's see if it works.
THE PRESIDENT: I've always believed it was better to light a candle than curse the darkness. Now, the whole town of Hannibal's done the same thing.
REPRESENTATIVE VOLKMER: Yes, that's right, and we're all waiting, and it's coming closer, and it's coming closer --there's one more. The switch should go -- ahh, there it is. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Good for you. (Applause.)
REPRESENTATIVE VOLKMER: All right, there it is, Mr. President. (Applause.) Thank you very, very much, Mr. President. Tell Hillary hello for us.
THE PRESIDENT: I'll do it. Thank you, Congressman.
REPRESENTATIVE VOLKMER: And you all have a real nice Fourth.
THE PRESIDENT: Tell everybody hello. Thank you, and God bless you.
REPRESENTATIVE VOLKMER: Thank you very much. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Good-bye.
REPRESENTATIVE VOLKMER: Bye. (Applause.)
END10:53 P.M. EDT