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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release July 4, 2000
                        REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
                        ABOARD THE USS HUE CITY

                            New York Harbor
                           New York, New York

8:55 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: (in progress) -- make this day possible. To all the rest of you, I can't imagine a better way to greet the dawn of Independence Day than on this remarkable ship, with its outstanding crew.

I do want to say I learned this morning that one of your sailors, Petty Officer Simms, has been nominated to come work at the White House because he's a top-rate cook. I want to apologize and say I am not responsible for taking him away from you, but I'm not going to give him back.

Our military leaders have worked hard to increase your time with your families and your quality of life at sea. But all of us know that what you do will always require sacrifice from you and your loved ones. So I want to say on this Independence Day how grateful I am and how grateful your nation is for your service. For you defend the freedom we celebrate today.

I hope every American will take a few moments to think about how we earned our exceptional place in human history. On this day in 1776, not all the action was taking place in Independence Hall in Philadelphia, where the Declaration was signed. Here in New York, General George Washington was preparing his troops for battle. Five long years and countless engagements later, America's soldiers and sailors emerged victorious, and helped to light the flame of liberty that now burns around the entire world.

So, today, on the birthday of our nation, I believe we should pay tribute to those who pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to our freedom. And today I think we should also honor all Americans, regardless of their background, whether their ancestors came here on immigrant ships or slave ships, whether they flew across the Pacific or walked across the Bering Strait, for all Americans have helped to extend the march of liberty, democracy and opportunity.

God bless you. Thank you for your service, and God bless America. (Applause.)

END 8:58 A.M. EDT