George Bush photo

Remarks at the Opening Ceremony of the AmeriFlora '92 Exposition in Columbus, Ohio

April 20, 1992

Well, Bob, thank you very much. Barbara and I are just delighted to be here and, of course, delighted to be with our admired and respected friend Bob Hope. May I salute our Governor, George Voinovich; the Lieutenant Governor, Mike DeWine; Senator Glenn; Mayor Lashutka of Columbus; Dorothy and Bob Teater; Dick and Pam Frank; and of course, the one you heard from earlier, Mr. John Wolfe and his wife, Ann, John having done so much for this city.

And thank you all for the privilege of attending this marvelous AmeriFlora '92, America's celebration of discovery. It's great to be back in Columbus, this wonderful city, where my dad was born and grew up.

First, I appreciate the brevity of the Bob Hope introduction. [Laughter] Bob was telling me about Columbus' discovery of America; we were talking a little history. He was saying that one result of Columbus' voyage was the trade that first introduced broccoli to the Europeans. They've been our friends ever since, anyway. [Laughter] They remain friends, for more than ever we believe in the same ideals like liberty, free trade, and democracy. We know ours is one world, an interdependent world.

The American spirit enriches the human spirit, brave, unafraid, and above all, free. That spirit, the spirit of discovery, forged America, for Christopher Columbus believed the mariner must, in his words, "probe the secrets of the world." So, the son of a Genoese weaver took that first step in a trek that ultimately produced the United States of America.

In saluting his quincentennial, we salute how freedom's ship has sailed to every corner of the Earth. We Americans celebrate discovery because we're never satisfied, because we are ever romancing the next horizon. That is why this beautiful sculpture here in front of us reminds us of the sails of the Nina, Pinta, and the Santa Maria, and why, too, a full-size replica of the Santa Maria graces the Scioto River.

Here in the largest city in the world bearing the explorer's name, we honor Columbus for the same reason as people in Peoria or Prague. We believe that the individual can make a difference and that human dignity can, indeed, change the world. Most of all, we know that dignity stems from values like hard work and self-reliance and faith. In 1492, those values sustained Columbus' voyage. In 1992, they must sustain our voyage to do right and thus achieve good.

Today, our world is smaller, faster than in Columbus' time, our fates at home linked to those abroad. Yet we need to keep these values in our hearts and in our minds. Columbus sought a new world. The values I refer to can help create a new world order.

Already, we see the outlines of a new world economy. Over the next week I'm going to be talking about this economy and how it can grow in the decades ahead. We need, as President Nixon once said, "an open world, open cities, open hearts, open minds." Only then can we not merely trade with other nations but profit from other nations, profit economically, intellectually, culturally, and spiritually.

In Columbus' day, commerce meant gold and trinkets. In our day, commerce means the exchange of goods and ideas that foster free markets, free governments, and ultimately, freedom itself. And that is why America must always be ready to compete by investing more in research and development, investing more in new technology, investing more in education. We're Americans. Performance is our name. So, as we concede what's changed in the world, let's prove what has not changed: America can still outwork and outproduce and outcompete any nation anywhere.

I thought of our country yesterday as Barbara and I attended our little church, little Easter service there in a little tiny church in Maine. As I looked around our church, we gave thanks for all that has truly blessed America. Now, it is my pleasure to introduce someone who has blessed my life, the life of the Bush family. For 2 years she has been your honorary patron of this marvelous fair, honorary patron of AmeriFlora. She's sure been around the world, continuing Columbus' grand tradition. You might remember how Columbus arrived in America and his luggage wound up in China. [Laughter] But anyway, for 47 years, she's been my wife. Ladies and gentlemen, your honorary chairman, my wife, our First Lady, Barbara Bush.

Note: The President spoke at 11:05 a.m. In his remarks, he referred to Dorothy Teater, Franklin County commissioner, and her husband, Robert; Richard M. Franks, chairman of the AmeriFlora '92 management committee, and his wife, Pamela; and John F. Wolfe, chairman of the board of trustees of AmeriFlora '92, and his wife, Ann.

George Bush, Remarks at the Opening Ceremony of the AmeriFlora '92 Exposition in Columbus, Ohio Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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