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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
June 16, 2001

Radio Address by the President and the First Lady, Father's Day

The First Lady:

Good morning. This weekend, millions of Americans will celebrate Father's Day.

On this day, sons and daughters pause to reflect on all the ways in which our fathers and grandfathers contribute to our lives: with ball games and Band-Aids; advice and sacrifice, patience and strength.

Words fall short when we attempt to describe the full extent of our love and appreciation for them.when we try to express our gratitude for everything they do for us. The fortunate among us know that we can always rely on a dad or a granddad. Sadly, there are those whose lives aren't touched by the loving hand of a father. I hope they, too, find a way to observe this day.with a caring role model or other family members.

I'm blessed to have many fond memories of my father. I remember fun trips together when I was a child, bumping along the dusty roads of West Texas in our car, heading for El Paso where my grandmother lived. My dad once said that when my mother brought him home to meet her parents for the first time, my grandmother was laying brick when they arrived. My dad thought he married into a family whose women could do anything.and he made me believe that I could be anything I wanted to be when I grew up.

Whether our fathers live one room away, a plane flight away, or years away in the twilight of our memories, we remember them as we commemorate Father's Day. It's a day to acknowledge all the spoken words and unspoken kindness that fathers and grandfathers have shown us through the years.

So thank you for your strength, your love, and your support for your children. Happy Father's Day to all of you.and I want to wish a happy Father's Day to the father of my children. Happy Father's Mister President.

# # #

The President:

Thank you, Laura. I know I express the feelings of many Americans when I say that my father is the finest man I have ever known. He provided me with life's greatest gift: unconditional love. And he still makes sure all his children know how much he loves us.

Fathers are so important in the lives of children. They provide love and encouragement. They are the object of a young child's admiration. And they provide their sons and daughters with an example of what it means to be a good man.

When fathers are absent, we see a lot of problems: dropping out of school, high rates of poverty, and criminal conduct. Our laws should promote responsible fatherhood - and so our Administration strongly supports community-based fatherhood programs. We are taking steps to make adoption more affordable. And for innocent children who are born into fractured families, we provide support for mentoring programs.

But ultimately fatherhood is a deeply personal calling. Our own children are given to our care, and they depend on our love. Every parent knows that raising children is not easy. But it is among the most hopeful and affirming experiences a human being will ever know. So many of my generation had the same experience: When we held our children for the first time, we found ourselves. We found a world of duty and love that changed our lives. And since that day, "Dad" has been the most important title I have ever held, or will ever hold.

Laura and I wish all of the fathers listening a happy Father's Day. So many of you provide to your children daily care and guidance, nurture and protection, discipline and love - and it is making a world of difference. On behalf of them, we want to express our appreciation.

Thank you for listening.

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