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The President's Radio Address

September 06, 1997

Good morning. I'm speaking to you this morning from the Edgartown Elementary School in Martha's Vineyard on the last day of a very special 3-week family vacation. This has been an especially important time for Hillary, Chelsea, and me, because it's the last vacation we'll have before Chelsea goes off to college in a few weeks. We've enjoyed both the natural splendor of this wonderful place and the natural warmth that the people of this community, some of whom are with us here today, have shown to all of us during our visit.

Today the world mourns the loss of two remarkable women. Their lives were very different but ultimately bound together by a common concern for and commitment to the dignity and worth of every human being, especially those too often overlooked, the desperately poor, the abandoned, the sick, and the dying.

With the passing of Mother Teresa of Calcutta yesterday, the world has lost one of this century's greatest humanitarians. Her worldwide ministry to the poor, the suffering, and the dying has served as an inspiration to all of us. With the enormous power of her humble faith and her lifetime of living it, she touched the lives of millions of people, not only in India but in our country and all around the world. Hillary and Chelsea will never forget visiting her mission in Calcutta. And we will always treasure the time we spent with her and be especially grateful for the home for abandoned babies she and her order opened in Washington and the chance Hillary had to help in getting it established.

Anyone who ever met Mother Teresa could see that within her very small frame, she carried a very big heart, big enough to follow God's will to show compassion and love for all our children, especially the sick and the forgotten. Mother Teresa once said, "The test at the end of life is not what you do; it is how much of yourself, how much love you put into what you do." Well, Mother Teresa put all of herself, all of her love, into serving mankind, and the world is a much better and nobler place because of how she lived.

The First Lady today is representing our Nation at the funeral of another woman of compassion, England's Princess Diana, whose tragic death a few days ago shocked and saddened millions around the world. The enormous outpouring of grief and support in the wake of Diana's death demonstrates that people saw in her more than her radiant beauty but, instead, a different kind of royalty. She became, as Elton John said at her funeral, England's rose, because she shared the life struggles of ordinary people, she cared about them. She was not too selfabsorbed to lend her hand and her heart to people in pain or in peril, especially people with AIDS and the innocent victims of landmines.

Hillary and I liked her very much. She was a young woman of great gifts coming into her own, determined to raise her children to be well-grounded, strong young men, not isolated by their royal lineage, and determined to make a contribution to the people of Great Britain and the world. On her trips to Washington, Hillary talked with her about the challenges of parenting and Diana's civic commitments, her campaigns on behalf of children, for people with AIDS, and to ban landmines.

To our friends in Great Britain, I wish to express a special message of sympathy. Our two peoples who experienced so much together are experiencing this sad event together. Diana was not ours, but we grieve alongside you.

Mother Teresa and Princess Diana, two women of vastly different backgrounds and worlds, are gone. But each of them in her own way has shown us what it is to live a life of meaning through concern for others. That is the great legacy they leave us. Let us honor it. For whether we live to a ripe old age or must leave this life too soon, our time on Earth is short, and we live on only through the gifts we give to others who share the journey with us.

Thanks for listening.

NOTE: The President spoke at 10:06 a.m. from Edgartown Elementary School in Martha's Vineyard, MA.

William J. Clinton, The President's Radio Address Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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