Remarks at a White House Reception for the Families of the Freed American Hostages

January 25, 1981

Well, ladies and gentlemen -- [laughter] -- I can't start anymore since Rich Little got me started on that habit. [Laughter]

We're delighted to have you all here. We know how happy you must be. And we all, of course, recognize the courage that has upheld those you're going to meet through these long 14 months. But I think it might be appropriate here to say a word about the courage of all of you, the dignity with which you have borne this, the courage when all you could do was wait through the many disappointments -- and not only those who are coming home but all of you, too. America has to be very proud of you.

Now, we're not going to make any speeches here. As you know, there will be a welcome back here on Tuesday for all of you and all of them, and we're now going to just join you out there. But we want to explain we won't be going with you to New York, because we feel very deeply that you don't need any outsiders. This is a moment for you and for them.

Since we all didn't go to church this morning because of this -- [laughter] -- can we just say, dear God, thank You. Thank You for what You've done. And God give you the understanding and the patience that you need now with regard to this homecoming and get-together. Amen.

Note: The President spoke at 10:57 a.m. in the State Dining Room at the White House.