Gerald R. Ford photo

Remarks on Greeting The Presidentials, a President Ford Youth Group, in Kansas City

August 16, 1976

Wow, what a meeting. What a convention. What a victory Wednesday night.

Let me be serious just a minute. On behalf of Mike and Gayle, Jack, Steve, and Susan, and of course, Betty, and especially on my own behalf, I want to thank all of the great Presidentials for being here on your own and doing a great job.

We have had a tough 2 years. We have done a good job. But everytime the going got rougher and rougher, everytime we had a hard, tough decision to make-and we did--I had the feeling that the young people in this country understood the problems and were on our side.

But let me, if I might, take just a minute. Your parents, your grandparents, have made a great effort over their lifetime to make this a good country. But they wanted to make it a good country for one single reason--because they wanted their children and their grandchildren to have a better America for themselves than they did for themselves. That is what you want for your children, and that is why you are so idealistic, that is why you have a cause, that is why you are here--because you believe in something, something good about America.

You want peace at home, and you want peace throughout the world. I am on your side. In the last 2 years we have healed America at home. And in the last 2 years we have achieved peace abroad, and we are going to keep it abroad.

Our Nation is trusted, respected. We have the military capability and the diplomatic skill to keep peace. And with the strength and the hopes and the aspirations and the visions of the American people, including all of the wonderful young people, America will continue to be the leader of the world, and we will keep the peace.

The young people of this country want their environment at home expanded. They want it better--more parks, a better life for when they go on vacation, a better life when they live in their urban centers or on their farm. They want an environment that will make this country the kind of a country where we can have a quality of life, not today, not tomorrow, but during this next century. I am on your side.

The American people, especially our youth, want to help the economy with jobs. I am on your side. The opposition party talks about statistics as far as unemployment is concerned. The only criteria that I use is that every American-white and black, old and young--who wants a job has a job.

Our country has grown from 13 poor, struggling colonies with less than 3 million people 200 years ago. For the first 100 years of our Nation's history, we developed the greatest form of government in the history of mankind. And then, in the second century of America's history, we were the leaders in developing an industrial revolution that made it possible for us to lead the world in worldly goods.

But it is my feeling that in our third century--and I think this came through during that wonderful Fourth of July celebration--we have to make the third century of America the century of the individual, so that he lives--we have to have the opportunity for that individual, wherever he or she may live, a century where we have peace abroad and peace at home; where we have the environment where a quality of life is meaningful to each and every one of us; where a job is not just a government-promised job, but a job with some real commonsense, with an opportunity for advancement and permanency; a third century where you and your children and your grandchildren can have a vision for a broadened opportunity for each and every one of you every day of every year. We have to have that vision of a better America.

Our forefathers gave us much--a good government, the opportunity to increase our worldly goods--but if we don't keep and strengthen the opportunity for individual liberty, all of which we believe in won't have much meaning, And so I say to you, Jerry Ford is on your side. I will stand with you, work with you, and we will win a great victory on Wednesday.

You have got a thousand wonderful young people here today, but we have to multiply and multiply and multiply our efforts so we win on November 2.

Note: The President spoke at 9:50 a.m. at the Trade Mart Building.

Gerald R. Ford, Remarks on Greeting The Presidentials, a President Ford Youth Group, in Kansas City Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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