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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 3, 2001

President Calls NY Teachers "Heroes"
Remarks by the President to 1st Grade Students at de Soto Elementary School - PS 130
New York, New York


12:14 P.M. EDT

     THE PRESIDENT:  Okay.  Thanks for letting us come.  Can I introduce some people here?  Mayor Rudy -- do you know the Mayor of New York, Rudy Guiliani?  The Governor, George Pataki, of New York.  And I'm President George Bush.  And I wanted to come by your school to say a couple of things.

     First, I want to say to the teachers who work in the school, and all throughout New York, how much we appreciate the courage that New York teachers showed.  There are some -- there's a lot of talk about heroes in our society.  A hero is somebody you look up to, of course.  And the teachers of New York City were very heroic.

     They were not only heroic in taking boys and girls your age out of the building, helping them find places to stay at night and making sure nobody got hurt; they're heroic today -- you know why?  Because they love you. And if you've got any worries about what took place at the World Trade Center, they can help you.  Some of you -- yes, they do want to help you, sure.  They want to comfort you and they want to make sure that you understand what went on.

     And I want to thank the teachers a lot.  And I know the Mayor and the Governor join me, as well.  (Applause.)

     I also want to tell you that you live in a great country.  You know that.  You're telling me -- you are learning about patriotism.  It looks like this guy, Stephen, for example -- "I love America," he writes.  Do you know what?  There are a lot of people who love America today.

     And one of the things that we're learning out of our sadness is what a great country this is.  The best way to realize this country is to learn how to read and write.  And that's what you're doing here.  Study hard, because this country says, you work hard, you can realize your dreams.  And that's what we're here to say to you.

     We want to thank you very much for letting us come by.  We want to thank your principals, and thank your teachers.  Tell your moms and dads "hello."  It's good to see you.

     Anybody have any questions for me or the Mayor?

     THE PRESS:  Mr. President --

     THE PRESIDENT:  You've already asked your questions.  (Laughter.) I've never seen somebody try to ask so many questions in one day. (Laughter.)

     Well, anyway, thank you very much.  Thanks for letting us come by.  A lot of people care for you, they really do -- starting with your moms and your dads and your teachers here.  A lot of people love you, too.  Thanks for letting us come by.  Bye-bye.

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