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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 8, 2003

Remarks by the President to Embassy Personnel
Leopold Sedar Senghor International Airport
Dakar, Senegal

THE PRESIDENT: I thank you all very much for coming out to say hello. Laura and I are honored to be here with you all. I'm also, as you could see, traveling with quite distinguished company -- our great Secretary of State Colin Powell is with us, as well. (Applause.) I want to thank Ambassador Roth and his wife, Carol, for their service to our country.

I'm here to thank our fellow citizens who are serving a great land. Thank you for your dedication and your love of country. I want to thank the foreign nationals who are helping our fellow citizens make sure the embassy runs so well. (Applause.)

This is an historic trip -- oh, there's the Ambassador. (Applause.) But we are so honored to start our trip to this continent here in Senegal. I had the opportunity to go out to Goree Island and talk about what slavery meant to America. It's very interesting when you think about it, the slaves who left here to go to America, because of their steadfast and their religion and their belief in freedom, helped change America. America is what it is today because of what went on in the past. Yet when I looked out over the sea, it reminded me that we've always got to keep history in mind. And one of the things that we've always got to know about America is that we love freedom, that we love people to be free, that freedom is God's gift to each and every individual. That's what we believe in our country.

I'm here to spread that message of freedom and peace. Where we see suffering, America will act. Where we find the hungry, we will act. We're here not only on a mission of mercy, we're also here on a mission of alliance. And I want to thank you all for helping make that come true.

May God bless you all. And may God continue to bless Senegal and America. Thank you all very much. (Applause.)


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