The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
February 20, 2002

Mrs. Bush's Remarks at Girl Scouts of Korea Event
Seoul, Korea

Thank you very much. Board members, distinguished guests, it's great to be in the wonderful city of Seoul. Thanks to Girl Scouts USA for their contributions to this event, including the beautiful mural from Hawaii and the Thinking Day cards from American scouts who live here in Seoul.

I salute Girl Scouts Korea, Girl Scouts USA and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. You help children and young women become the leaders of tomorrow.

One such leader is with us today -- Ms. Lee Yunsook, who is a former Girl Scout and a troop leader. As a respected member of Korea's National Assembly, she is focused on an issue that is near to my heart as well - and that is the well being of our children.

When I see young people like the girls here today, I am optimistic. You have the qualities of future leaders, and that brings everyone great hope.

In the United States, sometimes I'm asked to give advice to children who are Scouts. What I've learned is that what you are experiencing and learning today will serve you well throughout your entire life. Remember that you're responsible for everything that you do, and integrity is a value that you should cherish and protect.

I also say that it's important to always be responsible for yourself, and to remember that integrity is the only thing that cannot be taken from must be given away.

Don't be afraid of either failure or success.if you give any task at hand your best effort, then you really are a success. Life will bring you moments of great happiness, and you will have earned them. So savor those moments and be proud of yourself.

President Bush and I were both Scouts when we were young. President Bush's mother, Barbara Bush, was the den mother for his Cub Scout troop. And when I was a Girl Scout, my mother was our troop leader.

I remember that all the girls earned bird badges. For the girls in the troop, this just meant that we had completed our basic study of birds and bird watching, but for my mother, it led to what would become a lifelong hobby.

Bird watching became a big part of whatever we did as a family. We often drove out to the home of a woman we knew who kept her yard in its wild, natural state - just to attract birds.

I remember driving to see my grandparents when I was in high school, trying to sleep in the back of the car, when suddenly my mother would gasp, pull out her binoculars and announce, "There's a Hawk!" or "Did you see that Painted Bunting!' Being a teen-ager, I didn't want to be bothered, of course. But eventually, I did develop an interest in bird watching and the outdoors.

In fact, through bird watching I learned a little bit about "community" - about being a part of something bigger than my close group of family and friends.

One year, my mother identified a bird called a Varied Thrush in our own back yard. This was a rare bird for that part of Texas.

During the bird's stay in our garden, a lot of bird watchers in our town would come over on their lunch hours, sit at the counter in our kitchen and patiently wait for the bird to show up. As they waited, they got to know each other better through their common interest.

A lot of times the bird would never come, but when it did, everyone would jump up and hug each other -- they were so thrilled that they had spotted this rare bird. And my Dad would watch it all and say to me, "You know, bird watchers are really good people."

Since that time, and especially since September 11, I've seen a lot of good in people. President Bush and I very much appreciate the support of South Korea and our friends in the international community during our time of national loss and healing. Americans were not the only victims of this tragedy - we know that one citizen of Korea and 17 Korean Americans lost their lives in the attacks. We share the grief and we keep their families in our thoughts and prayers.

In the United States, people responded to tragedy with generosity and compassion, resolve and determination. President Bush and I are so proud of the American people.

We have seen the good in ordinary citizens; in the bravery of our policemen and firefighters -- and the tremendous respect and affection people have shown them. We have seen it in the money raised and the blood donated to victims of the attacks.

We have seen it in the care and concern for our children, and we are inspired by the spirit and energy of children, who also want to contribute to their communities.

We all know that when we help others, we are really helping ourselves. Being a scout is a great way to contribute time and talent to your communities. Scouting also teaches important values that will help you become leaders today, and throughout life. The world is a better place because of Girl Scouts. I hope that, like me, you will remember your experiences as a Scout with both pride and happiness.

Thank you very much for inviting me today - and for your hospitality. I will always remember my visit to Seoul and the people who live here.

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