THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Des Moines, Iowa)
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT UPON DEPARTURE FROM MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Minneapolis, Minnesota
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) I'm so glad to see you all. As you can see, I'm here with Senator and Mrs. Wellstone and Congressman Vento and Congressman Luther and Attorney General Humphrey. And I'm glad to be here with all of them, and I'm glad to be with you. (Applause.)
I also want to tell you, I'm glad I've got this big wind because I just had lunch downtown at a place called Peter's Grill, and I'm so full, I need a nap. (Laughter.)
Let me thank you for coming out today and tell you that I have had a wonderful trip to Minnesota. I want to thank the people here at the air base for making me feel welcome, as they always do, and the Air Force reservists for their service, and I want to thank the young AmeriCorps members who are here today for their service. (Applause.)
The men and women here at this Air Reserve Unit have gone all across the globe to preserve our freedom and to fight for the freedom of others. They served in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. They delivered food and supplies to people in Bosnia to help them survive. That's the longest airlift in history -- thanks to the United States Armed Forces and the people here. And people here have even helped to fight the fires in California. We're grateful to all of them for all those services.
I want to say something about the AmeriCorps volunteers here. (Applause.) In Minnesota alone, in this first year for AmeriCorps, they're making 200 houses or apartments into real homes for working families. And that is a noble thing to do. (Applause.) You're teaching more than a thousand children who might not make it without you, and I hope you'll keep working with them, because they need you. They need you as role models and mentors. (Applause.)
And in their work, they are also piling up some credits for themselves to help them pay for the cost of going to college. They represent the tradition of American service at its best, and we thank all these young people for their service. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
You know, this coming week is our National Volunteer Week, and tomorrow is a national day of service when a million Americans will join with many of you in special service all across America. It is fitting that National Volunteer Week should come now because volunteering is one of the best ways that Americans, and especially those fine people in Oklahoma, can deal with their grief and their pain and their loss.
I must tell you that yesterday when I saw them, and I realized
what they had been through, and how so many of them had continued to work
to help their friends and neighbors and loved ones -- some of them
haven't slept in days -- it reminded
me once again that service is the greatest gift of citizenship in this country.
And for all of you who are giving your service, whether here in the Reserve Unit, or in AmeriCorps, or in some other way through your churches and synagogues, or clubs or schools, I thank you, because the real heart of America is not in the nation's capital -- it's out here with all of you and what you do every day to make your lives and this country's life much better.
Thank you and God bless you all. (Applause.)