For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 18, 2002
Remarks by President Bush and President Kwasniewski at Luncheon with Polish American Leaders
Polish Cultural Center
12:21 P.M. EDT
PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you all very much. Thanks for your warm welcome. My fellow club members. (Laughter.) Thank you all for --
PRESIDENT BUSH: Yes, sir, thanks. We -- the President and I were just in the neighborhood, looking for a meal. (Laughter.) So I just said, why don't we stop over. I'm a member of a club in the area. (Laughter.)
Stan, thanks for remembering my membership and thanks for feeding us.
I appreciate you all coming out to greet my friend and a friend of America, the President of Poland, a fine leader and a fine gentleman. (Applause.)
I want to thank Stan and Sylvia, I want to thank all the folks who put on the dinner -- or, we call it "dinner" in Texas -- lunch here in Michigan. And I want to thank my fellow Americans for coming out to say hello.
We had a wonderful dinner last night in Washington. We all wore our black ties. I rented mine right around the corner. (Laughter.) But it was a wonderful occasion. And as much as I loved it last night, I was really looking forward to coming with the President here to Michigan, because there's a lot of great -- (applause) -- there's a lot of great Americans who happen to be from Polish descent living here, and I thought it was a perfect place for him to come. (Applause.)
I want to thank Cardinal Maida for coming. He was -- he came to dinner last night with us. (Applause.) He jumped on Air Force One. We found plenty of room for him. (Laughter.) But he's such a -- such a dignified human being, and I'm proud to call him friend. And thank you for your leadership, sir. (Applause.)
I want other thank the Englers, our friends the Englers. The great Governor and the First Lady of the state of Michigan. They've been our friends for a long time. (Applause.)
I know the lieutenant governor is here. I appreciate you being here, Dick. Thank you for coming, Dick Posthumus. (Applause.)
Candice Miller, the Secretary of State, I appreciate you being here. (Applause.)
We've got our Ambassador from Poland with us, Christopher Hill. He's doing a fine job. Chris, thank you for being here. (Applause.)
We've got a great delegation from the Polish government with us, scattered throughout, I guess. Mr. Minister, thank you for coming. I appreciate you all being here. (Applause.)
I want to just tell you right quickly that America has got a strong, strong friend in Poland. The Polish government and the Polish people are -- they understand what we went through. They understand, they've had a history of people wanting to take away their freedoms, too, so we share that common bond.
And they also understand that we owe it to our children and we owe it to future generations beyond our children to hold people to account, to hold the killers to account, to bring the killers to justice in order to defend our freedoms. And that's what we're going to do. (Applause.)
Some predicted that the farther we got away from September the 11th, the more then American people would grow weary or kind of forget what happened. And, Mr. President, you need to know that's not the case, that's not the case. Anybody attacks us and attacks our freedom, we don't forget that. And therefore, Mr. President, you're a guest in a country that is united and strong and resolved, resolved to keep our coalition together, and resolved to defend our freedom, no matter what the cost. And Poland understands that, and for that we are grateful. (Applause.)
And so it's been our privilege the last two days to welcome the First Lady and the President, President Kwasniewski, here to the United States of America. It's been a great trip. And it's a chance for us to -- chance for me to introduce him to you, my fellow Americans.
Mr. President, you're among some of the finest we have in our country, the good Polish Americans of the state of Michigan. Would you please welcome the President of Poland. (Applause.)
PRESIDENT KWASNIEWSKI: Thank you. Mr. President, dear friends, Governor, ladies and gentlemen, when I came here I met kids speaking Polish, and I think that's a good opportunity to exercise Polish a little bit. So I would like to use this opportunity and to say some words in Polish. But I hope -- yes, she is prepared, she will translate me.
Ladies and gentlemen, first of all, I would like to express my joy in meeting you here in Michigan, in the state which, according to data, has nearly 1 million of people who admit they have Polish roots.
Ladies and gentlemen, I want to say that you feel it immediately, when only you put your foot on this land you can feel immediately that you are like at home, among friends, among members of your family.
And here I would like to greet you on behalf of the whole, democratic and free Poland. I want to greet everybody who is present here, all Polish people who admit their Polish roots, but not only here, in the state of Michigan, in the whole United States. And I would like to thank you for everything, what you are doing, for Poland, for United States, and for the whole world. (Applause.)
I would like to say that this visit is extraordinary, not only because of the fact that this is a state visit, but this is the extraordinary visit because of great atmosphere which we can feel all the time. And I would like to thank very much President Bush for creating this atmosphere. I want to thank him for the support he's delivering for Poland. I want to thank him for his contribution to the world's security and stability, for his unbreakable spirit in the fight against terrorism, and in the fight to defend the universal values we are so very much attached to in Poland and in the United States, the values which are so important for all of us all over the world. (Applause.)
I would like also to express the words of the highest appreciation to the First Lady, to Mrs. Laura Bush. And I would like to appreciate very much her friendship, her hospitality for Polish people. And because our First Lady and the American First Lady are now in Philadelphia, I think that you have to give a very loud applaud, so they could hear you there in Philadelphia. (Applause.)
Again, again, yes please. (Applause.)
We are living now at the beginning of the 21st century, in a different world. This world is better, but it is also difficult. It is full of challenges. And we have to meet these challenges.
So the Polish American friendship should make a contribution to the future, to the good future of our families of people who live in our countries, people who live in our towns, in our villages, people who live all over the world. The world is small today, but it's even smaller because of the possibilities of good communications, possibilities to travel. And I think that we should all wish ourselves to make a very big effort in order to make these values even more universal -- good values, and values of living in peace. (Applause.)
God bless America, God bless Poland, God bless you. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
END 12:35 P.M. EDT