Bill Clinton photo

Remarks at the Arts and Humanities Awards Dinner

September 29, 1999

The President. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the White House. A special welcome to all of our honorees of the National Medals of Arts and Humanities. The nice thing about this evening, apart from being here in America's house slightly before we celebrate its 200th birthday, is that there are no speeches and lots of entertainment—[laughter]—unless, of course, Mr. Keillor wants to substitute for me at this moment. [Laughter] I'll be living down that crack I made about him for the rest of my life. [Laughter]

I want to say again, as I did today and as Hillary did, that this is one of the most enjoyable and important days of every year to us, because it gives America a chance to recognize our sons and daughters who have enriched our lives, made us laugh, made us think, made us cry, lifted us up when we were down. In so many ways, all of you have touched so many people that you will never know. But in all of them accumulated, you have made America a better place; you've made the world a finer place.

And as we look to the new century, I hope that as time goes on we will be known more and more for things beyond our wealth and power, that go to the wealth and power of our spirit. Insofar as that happens, it will be because of you and people like you. And it was a privilege for all of us to honor you today.

I would like to ask all of you here to join me in a toast to the 1999 winners of the Medal of Arts and the Medal of Humanities.

[At this point, the participants drank a toast.]

The President. And welcome. Thank you.

NOTE: The President spoke at 8:40 p.m. in the East Room at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to National Humanities Medal recipient humorist Garrison Keillor.

William J. Clinton, Remarks at the Arts and Humanities Awards Dinner Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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