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Letter to Elementary School Students on Halloween

October 24, 1989

Dear Students:

I know you are looking forward to a day coming soon that is one of the most fun -- Halloween. I'm inviting you to be among my special guests at the White House to celebrate this day. I promise you we'll have fun, but I want this Halloween to be about more than ghosts and goblins and scary things. While you're here, I am going to ask your help in ending something that unfortunately isn't make-believe -- it's frightening and real. It is the problem of drug abuse.

I hope you were able to watch when I spoke to the schoolchildren of America last month about the problem of drugs. During my television address, I told a story of a young boy and an old man who were walking along a beach. As they walked, the boy picked up each starfish he passed and threw them back into the sea. Confused, the old man asked him why.

"If I left them here," the boy said, "they would dry up and die. I am saving their lives."

"But the beach goes on for miles and there are millions of starfish," the old man said. "How can what you're doing make any difference?"

The boy looked at the starfish in his hand, threw it into the ocean, and answered, "It makes a difference to this one."

You can make a difference, too -- with your classmates, your friends, and your family -- by saying no to drugs.

I have given your teachers an anti-drug pledge card for you to read and sign. Please fill it out and bring it with you to the White House on Halloween. I look forward to seeing you.


George Bush

Note: Identical letters were sent to the following elementary schools: Kemp Mill, Rolling Terrace, and Greenbelt in Maryland; Ashlawn, Patrick Henry, James K. Polk, Forestville, Potomac, and Vienna in Virginia; and Bancroft, Brookland, Harrison, and John W. Ross in the District of Columbia. The letter was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on October 30.

George Bush, Letter to Elementary School Students on Halloween Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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