Remarks on Arrival in Honolulu, Hawaii

April 26, 1986

Governor Ariyoshi, Senator Matsunaga, Admiral and Mrs. Hays, Colonel and Mrs. Clark, Command Sergeant Major McDonald and Mrs. McDonald, soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen, ladies and gentlemen, and, yes, all the children that are here today: Nancy and I are honored that you've come out to greet us and absolutely delighted to be able to visit once again the magnificent State of Hawaii. The sun, the palm trees, the ocean all around -- I'm just sorry there wasn't room on Air Force One for a surfboard. [Laughter] But Nancy and I are especially pleased to see so many young people from the Hawaiian Just Say No Program. Across America this program is teaching thousands of our children how to say no to drug abuse. And to all you Just Say No kids, and to all you teachers, moms, and dads who are doing so much to make the program a success, we want to extend our heartfelt congratulations. How about all of us joining in and giving these wonderful young people a hand? [Applause]

As you of the Pacific Command know, our journey -- first to Indonesia to meet President Soeharto and the foreign ministers of the Association of South East Asian Nations, then to the Tokyo summit -- will prove to be of immense importance to our nation and the vast Pacific world that makes up your field of operations. The foreign ministers that we'll meet in Bali represent nations that have each in large part embraced human liberty, both political and economic. In our talks with these ministers, we'll reaffirm America's commitment to a Pacific community of nations marked by prosperity and peace.

And then after our stay in Indonesia, Nancy will travel on her own to Malaysia and Thailand, where she will meet leaders working to combat drug abuse. I have a feeling she will want to tell them about the Just Say No kids that are here today. And the rest of us will fly directly to Tokyo, where we'll participate in the 12th annual summit meeting of leaders from the industrialized democracies of Asia, Europe, and North America. And again, we'll stress our commitment to peace and to the prosperity that can only be achieved in freedom. As the site for this meeting, Tokyo itself will make a powerful statement about the growing role of Pacific nations upon the world stage.

But while we have this moment together here in Hawaii, permit me to say a few words about you, the men and women of the Pacific Command. As your Commander in Chief, I know that you're charged with one of the most difficult missions in all our Armed Forces -- the defense of our nation and world peace across more than 100 million square miles, about 50 percent of the Earth's surface. This demands sacrifice. Indeed, many of you are thousands of miles from your own homes. And beautiful as the Pacific world is, I know there are men and women among you who miss the streets of Brooklyn, the fields of Iowa, or the mountains of Colorado. Many of you left your families behind on the mainland. Even those of you fortunate enough to have your families with you here in Hawaii must wish that you could give them more time. Yet you are willing to make these sacrifices, willing because you know that in the name of freedom itself, America and her people must be defended. And today I bring you the thanks you deserve, the thanks of a grateful nation.

Today America is standing tall. We're rebuilding our defenses, setting in place innovative weapons programs and giving you the pay and equipment that you need. We're reminding the globe that America still stands for liberty. Indeed, since 1980 not 1 inch of territory has fallen to communism, and Grenada has been set free. And, yes, we're showing the world's dictators and terrorists that when they perpetrate their cowardly acts upon citizens of the United States, they had best be prepared for the consequences.

The world today is a dangerous place; even in some regions, a savage place. The noble profession of arms, the profession so vital to the maintenance of justice and peace, has never been more demanding. And I want you to know that, since becoming President, nothing has moved me more deeply or given me more hope for America's future than seeing the way in which you, our men and women in uniform, perform your often difficult duties. Ladies and gentlemen of the Pacific Command, you do your nation proud.

Well, I know it's time for us to go now, but before we do, I'd like to recognize the units of the Pacific Command here today. And if you want to cheer for yourselves, you go right ahead -- you deserve it. Thanks to the soldiers of the 25th Infantry Division and the rest of the U.S. Army and the Pacific Command. [Applause] To the sailors of our Pacific Fleet. [Applause] To the Fleet Marine Force. [Applause] To the flyers of the Pacific Air Forces. [Applause] To the Coast Guard. [Applause] And, of course, to the Hawaii National Guard and Reserves. [Applause]

Thank you again, and aloha, and God bless you all.

Note: The President spoke at 12:50 p.m. at Hickam Air Force Base, where he was greeted upon arrival by Gov. George Ariyoshi and Mrs. Ariyoshi. In his opening remarks, the President also referred to Adm. Ronald J. Hays, USN, Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Command; Col. Wayne F. Clark, Commander, 15th Air Base Wing; and Command Sgt. Maj. Teddy Paul McDonald, of the U.S. Army Support Command.