Remarks at the Conclusion of the Ford's Theatre Benefit Gala

March 21, 1981

Nancy and I have been very honored to be a part of this, and I think that I speak for everyone here when I say a heartfelt thanks to these fine artists who have given their time and their talent to make this evening so wonderful.

You know, some people were mentioned, some credits given; you couldn't name all of the people here in this theater that have had a hand in making this very wonderful evening. One was mentioned, Frankie Hewitt, and she certainly deserves it. There were two ladies that I don't think any of the others will mind if I mention, who worked long and tirelessly together to make this a success -- Mrs. Tip O'Neill and Mrs. Howard Baker. They worked so well together that I've got a couple of projects I'm going to suggest to their husbands. [Laughter] It's worth a try.

But here in this place that is so much a part of our heritage, reminds us so much of our traditions -- and, incidentally, it is not true I used to play this theater before it closed. [Laughter] But it just reminds me of a tradition I spoke to -- I said this earlier this evening to a number of these people and to some of you in the audience, and that is a tradition that I think all of us want to see upheld, and I was so pleased tonight to hear the opening remarks and know how some of you here in this audience are upholding it. And that is, as I told them earlier, a tradition in this land that we have supported with voluntary contributions, more musical groups, more orchestras, more ballet, more opera, more nonprofit theater, more cultural institutions like libraries, than all the rest of the world put together. And I think we can continue to do that in the years to come.

Now, again, I'll say a thank you myself to all of you who have made this possible -- and not only this evening but the restoration of this theater. And for all of you, a heartfelt thanks again to these wonderful people. Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 11 p.m. at Ford's Theatre.