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

January 27, 1981

Now, don't get worried. There's not going to be a lengthy speech here.

I've been in office now for 1 week, and one of the things I've found out is that there are a few orders that I can give. So, tonight I am officially ordering that all of you have a good rest, catch up with your families. And as much as Nancy and I and George and Barbara enjoy having you as our guests, we simply don't want to keep you from the privacy that you now deserve.

I know that a great many historic events have happened in this house and there have been many thousands of important people hosted here. But right at this moment I can't think of anyone more distinguished than you.

So, God bless all of you. Thank you again. Thank you for serving your country, for doing your duty. We're all very happy to have you back where you belong. And we're now going to go, and you have just received your second freedom. [Laughter]

Note: The President spoke at 3:46 p.m. in the East Room at the White House.