Good morning. I want to thank Gary Ruka and Stuart Proctor for being here and salute our other guests from the National Turkey Federation.
I remember last year's turkey celebration before I went off to the Persian Gulf to share Thanksgiving dinner with our troops out there in the desert. And for many families, the memory of last Thanksgiving must seem very, very distant.
Thursday will be a great day, another great Thanksgiving Day, a sort of homecoming for many families this time, full of pride for our brave service men and women, happiness at having them at the table at home, some for the first time in 2 years. To each and every one of them, I say again what I said to them in the desert that day: Thank you. Thank you for standing for freedom, for our security, and for peace in the world.
To the families of those who gave their lives in the line of duty, we say thank you, too, for we will always be grateful to them and to you.
Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday. And as we thank the Lord for his blessings of freedom, security, and peace, we also remember those Americans who are out of work, in poor health, or just plain lonely. We seek solutions to the problems facing our Nation. Most of all, the repair of hope and an end to homelessness and hunger.
Parenthetically, let me point out that since the successful conclusion of Desert Storm, more than 1 million worth of surplus food from the war has been distributed to the homeless and other needy Americans. I want to thank Dick Austin of the GSA who is the brains behind Operation Desert Share.
And finally, let me say that I've granted the annual Presidential pardon to this particular turkey. So you can rest assured he will not be on anybody's dinner table on Thursday. Instead, he'll live out his days gobbling away at the children's petting farm.
And so with that said, I am very pleased to sign the Thanksgiving Proclamation for 1991. And I'll be glad to do that right now, and then, Gary, I understand maybe you'd say a word or two.
Note: The President spoke at 7:30 a.m. in the Rose Garden at the White House. In his remarks, the President referred to Gary Ruka, president, and Stuart Proctor, executive vice president, of the National Turkey Federation.