Thank you very much, Mr. Powell. Tom Kleppe, my friends from the Congress, Senators Moss and lake Garn, and Congressman Gunn McKay:
t am extremely pleased to have the opportunity of participating in this ceremony today, where we are recognizing outstanding people in the field of small business.
Statistically--and I think this is very interesting--small business today includes about 9 million businessmen or businesswomen; it also includes about 45 percent of our total gross national product; and they include approximately 55 percent of our total labor force in the United States. So, small business represents a significant portion of our total business enterprise in the United States.
If we look back on the history of this country, I think it is very clear that small business has significantly participated in the taming of the frontier, in the building of our major metropolitan areas, and making our free enterprise system work.
So, it is a great privilege for me to have a part in this ceremony. I happen to come from a family that had something to do in the small business world. My father started a small business in 1929 with a partner, and that was not a very good year to start a small business. But through hard work on his part and that of his partner, the business survived during the Depression. It grew a bit, but always remained--and is today--a small business in the number of employees they have and the amount of business they do.
So, I know the trials and the tribulations of a small business, and I respect and admire those who start them, make them work, and contribute to a society in which we are all the beneficiaries.
So, at this time, let me congratulate Bruce for the work that he has done, and let me congratulate Henry for the work that he has done, and Harvey Stump and R. V. Jack, and the Stones, as well as the Mitchells. They have achieved real greatness in their area, but they represent a tremendous segment of our society which is vital and important to the success of our country.
So, it is a pleasure to not only be here but to have a very small part in this recognition.