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Public Papers - 1991 - September

Remarks to a Press Forum at the Daily Points of Light Celebration in Orlando, Florida


Let me just quickly say that this has really been a remarkable day, certainly one of the most remarkable since I've been President, for me, anyway. I'm delighted to see everybody here, delighted to meet with these remarkable Points of Light and appreciate the interest that so many have shown in their work.

The Points of Light that you'll have an opportunity to question in a few minutes represent four different sectors in the society. Each has a unique and valuable role to play in solving our most serious problems.

I tried to say out there in the outdoor gathering that government has a keen and active role to play, but it cannot be done without the Points of Light concept because of their organizational skills and their businesses are especially well suited to mobilizing employees for effective community service. Moreover, whether it's a large corporation or a neighborhood retail store, businesses across America are finding very good ways to use their distinctive talents to solve social problems at the local level.

For young Americans, for the young ones over here, service can be a profound expression of their idealism that we so often associate with young people. The young Points of Light are going to have a lot to tell you, I'm sure, about how their generation is expressing its idealism through direct and consequential action. Senior citizens possess a wealth of experience and wisdom and energy which they never cease to want to contribute to their country.

And finally, because sports foster the values of teamwork, preparation, and discipline while offering clearly defined measures of success, athletes and athletic instructors who share their gifts also have a very special ability to lead others to a realization of their own self-worth.

So, what we're going to do here, I'll let you break into separate groups, then get on with the real purpose of this gathering: Hearing from these outstanding Points of Light about their work, about their role in this most important community service movement.

Again, I want to express my thanks to Mr. Eisner and all Disney for what I understand has been most hospitable attention to all of our people from all around this country. And I think that's very, very fine.

And though I have to go on to a lunch now, I might just say that inasmuch as I have not had a chance to comment since my speech on Friday about nuclear weapons, I just wanted to say I have been very pleased with the reaction from all around the world. I was pleased with the Soviet reaction. I fully expect that they will cooperate fully, and I think it's a good thing for the young people around the world and in this country. And I would say that all the reaction from all different corners of the Earth has been positive so far.

The international reaction, I think, shows the world's thirst for peace. And what I propose will preserve our own leadership, our own strength, guarantee our own national security, but will significantly reduce nuclear weapons and, again, for the young people the fear of nuclear weapons. So, I'm very pleased with the response to all of that, and I would say to the Points of Light: I know as you wrestle with these problems and are right down at the neighborhood level trying to help people, I hope in some way this move now that I think will be worldwide to reduce these weapons will be stimulative and will offer a lot of hope to the young generations coming along.

Again, my thanks to all of you. It's a joy for Barbara and me to be with you, and good luck.

Note: The President spoke at 12:13 p.m. in Asbury Hall in the Epcot Center in Walt Disney World. Following the President's remarks, the Points of Light participants divided into four core groups: Business, Youth, Seniors, and Sports and Recreation, for specialized press forums addressing social problems in American communities. The President referred to Michael Eisner, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Walt Disney World Company. A tape was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.

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