Remarks on Presenting a Flag to the United States Olympic Committee

June 14, 1984

The President. Well, welcome to the White House. I know we were supposed to be outdoors, but the weather wouldn't cooperate with us.

It gives me great pleasure today to present a flag to Bill Simon, president of the United States Olympic Committee, to be carried by our Olympic team in Los Angeles.

The outpouring of support for our Olympic team -- voluntary and springing up all across our country -- makes us happy and proud. The team, walking behind the banner, our flag, in the opening ceremonies will truly be our team, America's team. And I can't help believing that on that day, July 28th, the members of our team will feel all of us there with them -- all of us behind them. They'll feel our pride in them, and they'll feel the unity, the patriotism, and the deep love we share for America, for our land of the free.

On August 3d, 1949, the Congress, by a joint resolution, designated June 14th of each year as Flag Day. And the flag is the symbol of our way of life and a reminder of those things that we stand for as a people.

Ours is a beautiful flag. It always has been, ever since Betsy Ross sewed our first flag with its 13 stars in a perfect circle. But its glory is not just in its colors or design. We salute this banner because it represents the struggle of our forefathers to build a land of freedom and opportunity.

It flew over lonely outposts when pioneers tamed our wilderness. It beckoned with a spirit of hope to the tens of millions who came here from every corner of the world to better their lot and that of their families, and to live together in freedom. Brave men and women risked their lives under this flag whenever our liberty was in peril. And many, whose names we never knew, gave their lives to ensure our country's survival so that freedom, our most precious gift, would be passed on to the next generation.

In saluting this flag, we salute them too -- courageous individuals to whom we owe so much. When we salute ``Old Glory,'' how can we not remember those words of Francis Scott Key, where the glare of the rockets ``gave proof through the night that our flag was still there''?

It's always been there for us. It is always there for us. It's the one symbol of all that we are and all that we hope to be. And I now give it to you, Bill, to take to Los Angeles as proof not only of our thanks to you and to the members of our team but also of our great hopes for you.

And just remember: No matter what happens, each and every member of the United States of America Olympic team is a champion in our eyes.

Mr. Simon. God bless you, Mr. President. Thank you. Let me say a word here.

Thank you very much, Mr. President. I'm honored on behalf of the United States Olympic Committee to accept this flag. You'll see this at the head of our delegation when we march into the stadium on opening day in Los Angeles a month and a couple of weeks hence.

We're going to have a great Olympic games. We're going to have the best team in our history, in my opinion, and more countries than ever before, more athletes than ever before. We'll treasure this.

God bless you, and we look forward to welcoming you in Los Angeles. Thank you, Mr. President.

The President. All right. Thank you all.

Note: The President spoke at 2:42 p.m. in the Roosevelt Room at the White House.