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 Home > News & Policies > July 2006

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 10, 2006

President Bush Honors Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Celebrates Special Olympics
The East Room

7:40 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for coming. Mrs. Shriver, and Special Olympics athletes; friends and family. Mr. President -- the President of Iceland has joined us -- proud you're here, President Grimsson. And First Lady of Panama, First Lady Torrijos is with us, as well. We've got members of the Congress and members of the Senate. Laura and I are glad you all are here. Welcome to this special occasion.

President George W. Bush addresses guests at a dinner honoring the Special Olympics in the State Dining Room Monday, July 10, 2006. "We're here to celebrate the Special Olympics, and to honor a woman who made them possible -- Eunice Kennedy Shriver," said President Bush.  White House photo by Shealah Craighead We're here to celebrate the Special Olympics, and to honor a woman who made them possible -- Eunice Kennedy Shriver. (Applause.) And we're here to celebrate her birthday. (Laughter.)

In a moment we'll hear from this woman who has made it her life's work to create opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities. She founded the Special Olympics in 1968, to get people with intellectual disabilities the chance to develop physical fitness, to create friendships, and experience the joy of sports competition and achievement. Today the Special Olympics includes more than 2.25 million athletes in 150 countries. The games have become a source -- (applause.) The games have become a source of unity and excitement for its participants. They've helped raise awareness of the challenges facing those with intellectual disabilities.

America upholds the values of every person and the possibilities of every life. And the Special Olympics are an example of America at its best. We share with the entire world the spirit of joy and kindness that the Special Olympics brings.

If you ever had any doubt about how much good one person can do, look no further than this kind and gracious lady. On this special occasion, I ask you to join me in a toast to the Special Olympics, and to Eunice Kennedy Shriver, and to her contributions to our nation -- past, present, and future. God bless.

(A toast is offered.) (Applause.)

END 7:44 P.M. EDT

President George W. Bush watches Eunice Kennedy Shriver holding up a birthday cake during a dinner honoring her 85th birthday in the State Dining Room of the White House, Monday, July 10, 2006. Mrs. Shriver founded the Special Olympics in 1968.  White House photo by Paul Morse