THANK YOU very, very much, Mayor Hughes, and I will honor and treasure the privilege of being an honorary citizen of the great city of Abilene. I also am grateful for the fact that I am excused from paying any taxes. [.Laughter]
I wish I could show reciprocity to you. [Laughter] Although you are a Buick dealer and my name is Ford, I have a great, great interest in a prosperous and healthy automobile industry. But as strongly as I feel the automobile industry is a great contributor to our economic well-being, I would respectfully suggest that 1976 is not a good year for all of you to trade in your Ford for another. [Laughter]
I was telling Billy Taylor earlier that a good many years ago I was an active member, a very devoted participant in the Jaycees in my home town of Grand Rapids, Michigan before World War II and then 4 years later when I came back and was for several years before reaching that age limit. I know what Jaycees do all over the country. I'm not familiar with your individual projects here in Abilene, but I have never found a Jaycee chapter that wasn't a major contributor to a better life in the community in which they operated.
Jaycees raise money in the right way. They spent it for the benefit of their fellow citizens. And their projects and their aims and their ideals are those I think are in the best interests of your community, your State, and our country. So, I am proud of my previous association--Billy, and the new president--of my opportunities as a member of the Jaycees.
Now, let me just--this is my last speech or comment before leaving the great State of Texas as I've had a wonderful time here for 3½ days. I've met some wonderful folks, young and old, from all walks of life, who have been friendly and supportive. And I want to say to you directly, and you can say it to all the other people of this great State, that Betty and Jack and Steve and Susan and Mike and myself are grateful for the hospitality, for the friendship, and the support that all of you have given us.
And I can only say this: The Ford family, and I particularly, will never let you down if I have the opportunity to serve this country for another 4 years. Thank you very, very much.
Again, it is nice to see you, and good luck, and God bless each and every one of you.