Remarks on Arrival in West Lafayette, Indiana

April 9, 1987

Well, a good afternoon, and I thank you all very much. I can't tell you how honored I am that so many of you have come out here to say hello, and let me say you have already made me feel so much at home. Now, as Henry VIII said to each of his six wives, I won't keep you long. [Laughter] No, I'll tell you, they've got a full day for me out there at the university, at Purdue, and I don't want to fall behind schedule. You see, after I leave the university, I'm heading home for California, and Nancy told me not to be late for dinner.

Well, anyway, I would like to say just a few words to you. On the way in today, being a midwesterner myself, I saw those typical midwestern farms and then your neighborhoods and your churches and schools and your city-county building with its dome. And I have to tell you, back there in those puzzle palaces on the Potomac, you can sometimes lose touch with the basic values that we're working so hard to try and defend. But coming here to Greater Lafayette has been -- well, it's kind of reminded me of a town over in Illinois. It's a town where I grew up -- Dixon, Illinois -- and where there's a little bit of my heart still there. I can see with the young people and the children that are here that this is kind of a family day, too. And you know, it was the hopes for our children that brought our forefathers to this land, and it's continued to be the thing that we strive for -- is to make this a better place and a place of freedom and hope for these next and oncoming generations. So, today our families give us strength still.

I have to share a little story with you. Just the other day, a man sent me a letter, and he had a little episode in it he thought I would be interested in. It seems that on a Sunday morning he preferred to read the paper. And his son, little Bill, came at him with a glove and a ball and wanted him to come out in the yard and play ball. And he wanted to read the paper. And he noticed that on the front of the paper was a map of the world in connection with some story. And he hastily cut the map of the world out, cut it into pieces, and then said to Billy, ``Here, you take this and put the map of the world together, and when you get back, why, then we'll go out and play ball.'' He figured he'd have plenty of time to read the paper. Billy was back in 7 minutes. And he said, ``How did you do that so fast?'' Well, he said, ``On the other side of the map there was a picture of family, and I found that if you put the family together, then the world took care of itself.'' [Laughter]

Well, I know that I have to move on and get out there to the university -- the things that are prepared there, but again, I just thank you from the bottom of my heart. If nothing else good happens on this trip, I'll go home about 3 inches taller because of this welcome out here today. Thank you very much. God bless you.

Note: The President spoke at 2:21 p.m. at Purdue University Airport.