时间:2017年10月22日 18:07:35

[Nextpage视频演讲]The President speaks about the importance of personal responsibility and giving back to the community as he delivers the commencement address at Kalamazoo Central High School in Kalamazoo, MI. The school was the winner of the 2010 Race to the Top High School Commencement ChallengeDownload Video: mp4 (254MB) | mp3 (25MB) [Nextpage演讲文本1]【Part 1】Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, everybody. Please be seated. Hello, Giants. (Applause.) It is good -- it is good to be here, and congratulations Class of 2010. (Applause.) I am honored to be part of this special occasion.AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love you!THE PRESIDENT: And I love you back. (Applause.) Let me acknowledge your extraordinary governor, Jennifer Granholm. (Applause.) Superintendent Rice, thank you for your inspiring words. (Applause.) Your mayor, Bobby Hopewell, who I understand is a proud Kalamazoo graduate himself. (Applause.) Thanks to Principal Washington for -- (applause) -- not just for the warm introduction, but for his enthusiasm and his energy and his leadership and his nice singing voice. (Laughter.) Thank you. To all the trustees, to the alumni, to the parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins -- everybody who’s been a part of this extraordinary place. (Applause.) And I want to recognize our student speakers. Cindy, who embodies the best of our traditions in this country -- arrived three or four years ago and graduates as the valedictorian -- this is what is continually replenishing the energy and the dynamism and the innovation of this country, and we could not be prouder of you. Thank you. (Applause.) And to Simon, I’m glad that, according to the Constitution, you can’t run till you’re 35. (Laughter and applause.) So I’ll be long gone by then. (Laughter.) But it gives me great confidence to know that we’ve got such incredible young leaders who are going to be remaking the world in so many different ways.Now, recently, an article from your local paper, the Kalamazoo Gazette -- (applause) -- was brought to my attention. And it ran just after this school had been chosen as one of the six finalists in our Race to the Top Commencement Challenge. And for those who aren’t aware of it, this is a contest to highlight schools that promote academic excellence, personal responsibility and that best prepare students for college and careers. And this article in the Gazette ed a young lady named Kelsey Wilson -- (applause.) Where is -- is Kelsey here? She right over there? (Applause.) Anyway --AUDIENCE MEMBERS: She’s here.THE PRESIDENT: She’s over there? Hey, Kelsey. How are you? (Laughter.)[Nextpage演讲文本2]【Part 2】So Kelsey was ed as saying, “We’re the kind of school that never gets credit for what we do. And our school is amazing.” This is what Kelsey said, “Our school is amazing.”Well, Kelsey, Class of 2010, members of the Kalamazoo community, I’m here tonight because after three rounds of competition, with more than a thousand schools, and more than 170,000 votes cast, I know -- and America knows -- what you’ve done at Kalamazoo Central. You are amazing! (Applause.) We know. We know. (Applause.) Our amazing Secretary of Education Arne Duncan knows. (Applause.) Folks in Washington know, folks across the country know, and hopefully after tonight, everybody knows. Now, together as a community, you’ve embraced the motto of this school district: “Every child, every opportunity, every time.” (Applause.) Every time. Every child, every opportunity, every time, because you believe, like I do, that every young person, every child -- regardless of what they look like, where they come from, how much money their parents have -- every child who walks through your schoolhouse doors deserves a quality education. No exceptions. (Applause.)And I’m here tonight because I think that America has a lot to learn from Kalamazoo Central about what makes for a successful school in this new century. (Applause.) You’ve got educators raising standards and then inspiring their students to meet them. You’ve got community members who are stepping up as tutors and mentors and coaches. You got parents who are taking an active interest in their child’s education -- attending those teacher conferences, yes, turning off the TV once in a while, making sure homework gets done. Arne Duncan is here tonight because these are the values, these are the changes that he’s encouraging in every school in this nation. It’s the key to our future.But the most important ingredient is you: students who raised your sights, who aimed high, who invested yourselves in your own success. It’s no accident that so many of you have received college admissions letters, Class of 2010. That didn’t happen by accident. It happened because you worked for it. As the superintendent said, you earned it.So, Kelsey, I agree with you. What you’ve done here at Kalamazoo Central is amazing. (Applause.) I am proud of you. Your parents are proud of you. Your teachers, your principal -- we’re all incredibly proud.[Nextpage演讲文本3]【Part 3】Now, graduates, all these folks around you, I have to say, though, with the cameras and the beaming smiles -- they’ve worked hard to give you everything you need to pursue your dreams and fulfill your God-given talent. Unfortunately, you can’t take them with you when you leave here. (Laughter.) No one is going to go follow you around making sure that you’re getting to class on time, making sure you’re doing your work. Nobody is going to be doing that for you. Going forward, that’s all on you -- responsibility for your success is squarely on your shoulders. And the question I have for you today is this: What is each -- what are each of you going to do to meet that responsibility? Now, right now you’re getting plenty of advice from everybody. Some of it’s helpful. (Laughter.) And so I hate to pile on with advice. But while I’m here -- (laughter) -- what the heck. (Laughter.) I figure I should offer a few thoughts based on my own experiences, but also based on my hopes for all of you, and for our country, in the years ahead.First, understand that your success in life won’t be determined just by what’s given to you, or what happens to you, but by what you do with all that’s given to you; what you do with all that happens to you; how hard you try; how far you push yourself; how high you’re willing to reach. True excellence only comes with perseverance. This wasn’t something I really understood when I was back your age. My father, some of you know, left my family when I was two years old. I was raised by a single mom and my grandparents. (Applause.) And sometimes I had a tendency to goof off. As my mother put it, I had a tendency sometimes to act a bit casual about my future. (Laughter.) Sometimes I was rebellious. Sometimes I partied a little too much. (Applause.) Oh, yes, yes, this is a cautionary tale. (Laughter.) Don’t be cheering when I say that. (Laughter.) Studied just enough to get by. I thought hard work, responsibility, that’s old-fashioned. That’s just people want to tell me what to do. But after a few years, after I was living solely on my own and I realized that living solely for my own entertainment wasn’t so entertaining anymore, that it wasn’t particularly satisfying anymore, that I didn’t seem to be making much of a ripple in the world, I started to change my tune. I realized that by refusing to apply myself, there was nothing I could point to that I was proud of that would last. [Nextpage演讲文本4]【Part 4】Now, you come of an age in a popular culture that actually reinforces this approach to life. You watch TV, and basically what it says is you can be rich and successful without much effort; you just have to become a celebrity. (Laughter.) If you can achieve some reality TV notoriety, that’s better than lasting achievement. We live in a culture that tells you there’s a quick fix for every problem and a justification for every selfish desire. And all of you were raised with cell phones and iPods, and texting and emails, and you’re able to call up a fact, or a song, or a friend with the click of a button. So you’re used to instant gratification.But meaningful achievement, lasting success -- it doesn’t happen in an instant. It’s not about luck, it’s not about a sudden stroke of genius. It’s not usually about talent. It’s usually about daily effort, the large choices and the small choices that you make that add up over time. It’s about the skills you build, and the knowledge you accumulate, and the energy you invest in every task, no matter how trivial or menial it may seem at the time. You’ve got an alum who plays for the Yankees, I hear. He’s supposed to be pretty good. (Applause.) Now, Derek Jeter wasn’t born playing shortstop for the Yankees. He got there through years of effort. And his high school baseball coach once remarked, “I’m surprised he still doesn’t have blisters and that I don’t have the blisters on my hands from hitting ground balls just for Derek.” He always wanted more: ‘How about one more turn in the batting cage? Or 25 more ground balls?’”Thomas Edison tested more than 6,000 different materials for just one tiny part of the light bulb that he invented. Think about that -- 6,000 tests. J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected 12 times before it was finally published. Mozart was a musical prodigy, but he practiced for hours each day -- accumulating thousands of hours at the piano by the time he was just six years old. I understand that your boys’ basketball team did pretty good. (Applause.) First state champions for the first time in 59 years. That didn’t happen by accident. They put in work. They put in effort.So, today, you all have a rare and valuable chance to pursue your own passions, chase your own dreams without incurring a mountain of debt. What an incredible gift. So you’ve got no excuse for giving anything less than your best effort. (Applause.) No excuses. [Nextpage演讲文本5]【Part 5】That’s my second piece of advice, very simple: Don’t make excuses. Take responsibility not just for your successes; take responsibility where you fall short as well. Now, the truth is, no matter how hard you work, you’re not going to ace every class -- well, maybe Cindy will, but -- (laughter.) But you’re not going to ace every class. You’re not going to succeed the first time you try something. There are going to be times when you screw up. There will be times where you hurt people you love. There will be times where you make a mistake and you stray from the values that you hold most deeply. And when that happens, it’s the easiest thing in the world to start looking around for somebody else to blame. Your professor was too hard; your boss was a jerk; the coaches -- was playing favorites; your friend just didn’t understand. Your wife -- oh, no. (Laughter.) I’m just messing with Michelle right there. (Laughter.) That was all in fun. (Laughter.) No, but this is an easy habit to get into. You see it every day in Washington -- every day -- folks calling each other names, making all sorts of accusations on television. Everybody is always pointing a finger at somebody else. You notice that? Now, this community could have easily gone down that road. This community could have made excuses -- well, our kids have fewer advantages, our schools have fewer resources -- how can we compete? You could have spent years pointing fingers -- blaming parents, blaming teachers, blaming the principal, blaming the superintendent, blaming the President. (Laughter and applause.) But that’s -- Class of 2010, I want you to pay attention on this because that’s not what happened. Instead, this community was honest with itself about where you were falling short. You resolved to do better, push your kids harder, open their minds wider, expose them to all kinds of ideas and people and experiences. So, graduates, I hope you’ll continue those efforts. Don’t make excuses. And I hope that wherever you go, you won’t narrow the broad intellectual and social exposure you’ve had here at Kalamazoo Central -- instead, seek to expand it. Don’t just hang out with people who look like you, or go to the same church you do, or share your political views. Broaden your circle to include people with different backgrounds and life experiences. Because that’s how you’ll end up learning what it’s like to walk in somebody else’s shoes. (Applause.) That’s how you’ll come to understand the challenges other people face. And this is not just an academic exercise. It’s a way to broaden your ambit of concern and learn to see yourselves in each other. Which brings me to my final piece of advice for today, and that’s to give back, to be part of something bigger than yourselves. Hitch your wagon to something that is bigger than yourselves.I know that so many of you have aly served your community through efforts like your Stuff the Bus food drives and groups like Activists for Action. And I commend you for that. (Applause.)[Nextpage演讲文本6]【Part 6】But I also know that many of you are the first in your family to go to college. And right about now, you may be feeling all the weight of their hopes and expectations coming down on your shoulders. And once you start juggling those classes and activities and that campus job, and you get caught up in your own dreams and your own anxieties and dating -- (laughter) -- you may feel like you’ve got enough on your plate just dealing with your own life. It might be easier to turn the channel when the news disturbs you, to avert your eyes when you pass that homeless man on the street, to tell yourself that other people’s problems really aren’t your responsibility.But just think about what the consequence of that approach to life would have been if that’s how folks had acted here in this community. What if those Kalamazoo Promise donors had said to themselves, “Well, you know what, I can pay for my own kid’s education. Why should I have to pay for somebody else’s?” Think about the consequences for our country. What if our Founding Fathers had said, “You know, colonialism is kind of oppressive, but I’m doing okay, my family’s doing all right, why should I spend my summer in Philadelphia arguing about a Constitution?” What if those abolitionists, those civil right workers had said, “You know, slavery is wrong, segregation is wrong, but it’s kind of dangerous to get mixed up in that stuff. I don’t have time for all those meetings and marches. I think I’m going to take a pass. I hope it works out, but that’s not something I want to do.” I want you to think for a minute about the extraordinary men and women who’ve worn our country’s uniform and have given their last full measure of devotion to keep us safe and free. (Applause.) What if they said -- what if they said, “I really do love this country, but why should I sacrifice so much for people I’ve never even met?” Young men and women in uniform right now making those sacrifices. (Applause.) So you and I are here today because those people made a different choice. They chose to step up. They chose to serve. And I hope you will follow their example, because there is work to be done, and your country needs you. We’ve got an economy to rebuild. We’ve got children to educate. We’ve got diseases to cure. We’ve got threats to face. We’ve got an oil spill to clean up. (Applause.) We’ve got clean energy to discover. And it is going to be up to you to meet all of those challenges -- to build industries and make discoveries and inspire the next generation. It’s going to be up to you to heal the divide that continues to afflict our world. Now, I’m not saying you got to do it here all at once. But as Theodore Roosevelt once put it, I’m asking you to “Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are.” And I can guarantee that wherever your journey takes you, there are going to be children who need mentors and senior citizens who need assistance, folks down on their luck who could use a helping hand. And once you’ve reached out and formed those connections, you’ll find it’s a little harder to numb yourself to other people’s suffering. It’s a little harder to ignore the national debates about the issues that affect their lives and yours.In the end, service binds us to each other -- and to our communities and our country -- in a way that nothing else can. It’s how we become more fully American. That’s the reason those donors created the Kalamazoo Promise in the first place -- not for recognition or reward, but because of their connection to this community; because their belief in your potential; because their faith that you would use this gift not just to enrich your own lives, but the lives of others and the life of the nation. (Applause.) And I’m told that soon after the Promise was established, a first grader approached the superintendent at the time and declared to her: “I’m going to college.” First grader. “I’m going to college. I don’t know what it is, but I’m going.” (Laughter and applause.) We may never know those donors’ names, but we know how they helped bring this community together and how you’ve embraced their Promise not just as a gift to be appreciated, but a responsibility to be fulfilled. We know how they have helped inspire an entire generation of young people here in Kalamazoo to imagine a different future for themselves. And graduates, today, I’m asking you to pay them back by seeking to have the same kind of impact with your own lives; by pursuing excellence in everything you do; by serving this country that you love. (Applause.)I know that you can do it. After all, you are the Giants -- (applause) -- and with the education you’ve gotten here, there’s nothing you can’t do. Thank you very much, everybody. God bless you. And God bless the ed States of America. (Applause.) And God bless the Class of 2010. (Applause.)END201006/105752

REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT ON THE HOME MORTGE CRISIS Dobson High SchoolMesa, Arizona10:25 A.M. MSTTHE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. (Applause.) Please, everybody have a seat. Thank you. Well, it is good to be back in Arizona. (Applause.) Thank you. Are you excited? (Applause.) Thank you, thank you. And thank you for arranging for such a beautiful day. I want to stick around, but I got to go back to work. But it is wonderful to be here. And to all of you, I know that attending these kinds of events, oftentimes you have to wait in line and there's all kinds of stuff going on. But I appreciate you being here very much. And to all the officials here at the school, the principal and the student body, everybody who helped make this possible, thank you so much to all of you. (Applause.) I'm here today to talk about a crisis unlike we've ever known -- but one that you know very well here in Mesa, and throughout the Valley. In Phoenix and its surrounding suburbs, the American Dream is being tested by a home mortgage crisis that not only threatens the stability of our economy, but also the stability of families and neighborhoods. It's a crisis that strikes at the heart of the middle class: the homes in which we invest our savings and build our lives, raise our families and plant roots in our communities. So many Americans have shared with me their personal experiences of this crisis. Many have written letters or emails or shared their stories with me at rallies and along rope lines. Their hardship and heartbreak are a reminder that while this crisis is vast, it begins just one house -- and one family -- at a time. It begins with a young family -- maybe in Mesa, or Glendale, or Tempe -- or just as likely in a suburban area of Las Vegas, or Cleveland, or Miami. They save up. They search. They choose a home that feels like the perfect place to start a life. They secure a fixed-rate mortgage at a reasonable rate, and they make a down payment, and they make their mortgage payments each month. They are as responsible as anyone could ask them to be. But then they learn that acting responsibly often isn't enough to escape this crisis. Perhaps somebody loses a job in the latest round of layoffs, one of more than 3.5 million jobs lost since this recession began -- or maybe a child gets sick, or a spouse has his or her hours cut. In the past, if you found yourself in a situation like this, you could have sold your home and bought a smaller one with more affordable payments, or you could have refinanced your home at a lower rate. But today, home values have fallen so sharply that even if you make a large down payment, the current value of your mortgage may still be higher than the current value of your house. So no bank will return your calls, and no sale will return your investment. You can't afford to leave, you can't afford to stay. So you start cutting back on luxuries. Then you start cutting back on necessities. You spend down your savings to keep up with your payments. Then you open the retirement fund. Then you use the credit cards. And when you've gone through everything you have, and done everything you can, you have no choice but to default on your loan. And so your home joins the nearly 6 million others in foreclosure or at risk of foreclosure across the country, including roughly 150,000 right here in Arizona. But the foreclosures which are uprooting families and upending lives across America are only part of the housing crisis. For while there are millions of families who face foreclosure, there are millions more who are in no danger of losing their homes, but who have still seen their dreams endangered. They're the families who see the "For Sale" signs lining the streets; who see neighbors leave, and homes standing vacant, and lawns slowly turning brown. They see their own homes -- their single largest asset -- plummeting in value. One study in Chicago found that a foreclosed home reduces the price of nearby homes by as much as 9 percent. Home prices in cities across the country have fallen by more than 25 percent since 2006. And in Phoenix, they've fallen by 43 percent. Even if your neighborhood hasn't been hit by foreclosures, you're likely feeling the effects of this crisis in other ways. Companies in your community that depend on the housing market -- construction companies and home furnishing stores and painters and landscapers -- they're all cutting back and laying people off. The number of residential construction jobs has fallen by more than a quarter million since mid-2006. As businesses lose revenue and people lose income, the tax base shrinks, which means less money for schools and police and fire departments. And on top of this, the costs to local government associated with a single foreclosure can be as high as ,000. So the effects of this crisis have also reverberated across the financial markets. When the housing market collapsed, so did the availability of credit on which our economy depends. And as that credit has dried up, it's been harder for families to find affordable loans to purchase a car or pay tuition, and harder for businesses to secure the capital they need to expand and create jobs. In the end, all of us are paying a price for this home mortgage crisis. And all of us will pay an even steeper price if we allow this crisis to continue to deepen -- a crisis which is unraveling home ownership, the middle class, and the American Dream itself. But if we act boldly and swiftly to arrest this downward spiral, then every American will benefit. And that's what I want to talk about today. The plan I'm announcing focuses on rescuing families who've played by the rules and acted responsibly, by refinancing loans for millions of families in traditional mortgages who are underwater or close to it, by modifying loans for families stuck in sub-prime mortgages they can't afford as a result of skyrocketing interest rates or personal misfortune, and by taking broader steps to keep mortgage rates low so that families can secure loans with affordable monthly payments. At the same time, this plan must be viewed in a larger context. A lost home often begins with a lost job. Many businesses have laid off workers for a lack of revenue and available capital. Credit has become scarce as markets have been overwhelmed by the collapse of security backed -- securities backed by failing mortgages. In the end, the home mortgage crisis, the financial crisis, and this broader economic crisis are all interconnected, and we can't successfully address any one of them without addressing them all. So yesterday, in Denver, I signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which will create or save -- (applause.) The act will create or save 3.5 million jobs over the next two years -- including 70,000 right here in Arizona, right here -- (applause) -- doing the work America needs done. And we're also going to work to stabilize, repair and reform our financial system to get credit flowing again to families and businesses. And we will pursue the housing plan I'm outlining today. And through this plan, we will help between 7 and 9 million families restructure or refinance their mortgages so they can afford -- avoid foreclosure. And we're not just helping homeowners at risk of falling over the edge; we're preventing their neighbors from being pulled over that edge, too -- as defaults and foreclosures contribute to sinking home values, and failing local businesses, and lost jobs. But I want to be very clear about what this plan will not do: It will not rescue the unscrupulous or irresponsible by throwing good taxpayer money after bad loans. It will not help speculators -- (applause) -- it will not help speculators who took risky bets on a rising market and bought homes not to live in but to sell. (Applause.) It will not help dishonest lenders who acted irresponsibly, distorting the facts -- (applause) -- distorting the facts and dismissing the fine print at the expense of buyers who didn't know better. And it will not reward folks who bought homes they knew from the beginning they would never be able to afford. (Applause.) So I just want to make this clear: This plan will not save every home. 02/62665


THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. At the stroke of midnight tonight, a vital intelligence law that is helping protect our nation will expire. Congress had the power to prevent this from happening, but chose not to. The Senate passed a good bill that would have given our intelligence professionals the tools they need to keep us safe. But leaders in the House of Representatives blocked a House vote on the Senate bill, and then left on a 10-day recess. Some congressional leaders claim that this will not affect our security. They are wrong. Because Congress failed to act, it will be harder for our government to keep you safe from terrorist attack. At midnight, the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence will be stripped of their power to authorize new surveillance against terrorist threats abroad. This means that as terrorists change their tactics to avoid our surveillance, we may not have the tools we need to continue tracking them -- and we may lose a vital lead that could prevent an attack on America. In addition, Congress has put intelligence activities at risk even when the terrorists don't change tactics. By failing to act, Congress has created a question about whether private sector companies who assist in our efforts to defend you from the terrorists could be sued for doing the right thing. Now, these companies will be increasingly reluctant to provide this vital cooperation, because of their uncertainty about the law and fear of being sued by class-action trial lawyers. For six months, I urged Congress to take action to ensure this dangerous situation did not come to pass. I even signed a two-week extension of the existing law, because members of Congress said they would use that time to work out their differences. The Senate used this time productively -- and passed a good bill with a strong, bipartisan super-majority of 68 votes. Republicans and Democrats came together on legislation to ensure that we could effectively monitor those seeking to harm our people. And they voted to provide fair and just liability protection for companies that assisted in efforts to protect America after the attacks of 9/11. The Senate sent this bill to the House for its approval. It was clear that if given a vote, the bill would have passed the House with a bipartisan majority. I made every effort to work with the House to secure passage of this law. I even offered to delay my trip to Africa if we could come together and enact a good bill. But House leaders refused to let the bill come to a vote. Instead, the House held partisan votes that do nothing to keep our country safer. House leaders chose politics over protecting the country -- and our country is at greater risk as a result. House leaders have no excuse for this failure. They knew all along that this deadline was approaching, because they set it themselves. My administration will take every step within our power to minimize the damage caused by the House's irresponsible behavior. Yet it is still urgent that Congress act. The Senate has shown the way by approving a good, bipartisan bill. The House must pass that bill as soon as they return to Washington from their latest recess. At this moment, somewhere in the world, terrorists are planning a new attack on America. And Congress has no higher responsibility than ensuring we have the tools to stop them. Thank you for listening. END 200806/40923

The President was in South Florida today at Miami Central Senior High School, kicking off a month focusing on education. Miami Central has received more than 0,000 in federal School Improvement Grants, implemented profound reforms, and has seen dramatic results: a 40-point increase in writing achievement, a 60-point increase in math, and almost doubling its graduation rate.The President was joined by Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. In his remarks at the school, President Obama talked about this crucial moment in America's economic recovery.Download Video: mp4 (316MB) | mp3 (30MB) 201103/127550

本演讲暂无音频President Bush Discusses Volunteerism THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, all. Please be seated. Welcome to the South Ground of the White House. It is a joy to be here with members of the armies of compassion. I'm really glad you're here and I appreciate your inspiration to our fellow citizens. I believe you are a constant reminder of the true source of our nation's strength, which is the good hearts and souls of the American people.We have seen the good hearts of our people over the last week as caring volunteers have helped their fellow citizens through Hurricane Gustav and Tropical Storm Hanna. The Red Cross, which provides a vital role in helping the relief efforts and recovery efforts, has been spending millions of dollars to provide shelter and food for evacuees and to help with the clean-up efforts. Yet charitable contributions have not kept pace with their expenses, and I hope our fellow citizens will support the Red Cross, particularly as Hurricane Ike and other storms develop over the Gulf Coast. You can help by going to the Red Cross's website -- redcross.org -- and make a vital contribution to help our fellow citizens.I appreciate the fact that those here represent the hundreds of thousands of our citizens who answered the call to love a neighbor like we'd like to be loved ourselves. I appreciate the fact that you and others lift up souls, one person at a time. You strengthen the foundation of our democracy, which is the engagement of our people. I want to thank you for what you do. God bless you and welcome. (Applause.)I thank Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, Department of the Interior, and Patricia, who have joined us; Secretary of Commerce, Carlos Gutierrez; Secretary of Transportation, Mary Peters; Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy, welcome Madame Congresswoman, thanks for coming. I appreciate Stephen Goldsmith, the Chairman of the Corporation for National and Community Service; Jack Hawkins, Director of Volunteers for Prosperity; Ron Tschetter, who is the Director of the Peace Corps -- (applause) -- I knew that was coming. (Laughter.) Jean Case, the Chairman of the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation and members of that council.I appreciate my buddy, Michael W. Smith, who is going to play a couple of songs for us here. (Applause.) And his wife, Debbie. I want to thank student and school administrators and board members from the LEUE that are here today. These are students from schools all across the country. (Applause.) We are glad you are here.With us is the 2007 Spirit of Hope Award Recipient. This is the military's way of honoring people who have given back to their communities. Giovanni Balingit -- Giovanni, welcome; thank you, sir; congratulations to you. (Applause.) I want to thank all those who are here in the ed States military. Thank you for wearing the uniform of the ed States. (Applause.)But most of all, thanks for coming. I really appreciate you taking time out to come by and let me say hello to you.In my first inaugural address, I challenged all Americans to be "citizens, not spectators ... responsible citizens, building communities of service and a nation of character."Eight months later Americans were tested by the worst attack on our nation. In the midst of chaos and sorrow, Americans responded with the -- with characteristic courage and grace. It was a remarkable moment in our country. It really was, when you think about it. Rescue workers wrote their Social Security numbers on their arms and then rushed into buildings. Citizens became members of ambulance teams. And people from all across the country poured into New York City to help.The terrorists who attacked our country on September the 11th didn't understand our country at all. Evil may crush concrete and twist steel, but it can never break the spirit of the American people. (Applause.)In the weeks and months after the attacks, inspiring acts continued to unfold all across the country. I'm sure you heard the stories, just like I did. Men and women of our armed forces accepted dangerous new duties, and a lot of folks stepped forward to volunteer to protect our fellow citizens. But the desire to serve reached far beyond the military. Millions of Americans were -- really wanted to help our country recover.And so to tap into that spirit, I called on every American to spend at least 4,000 hours -- or two years in the course of a lifetime -- to serve our nation through acts of compassion. Some said that's acting -- asking a lot for the country, and they were right -- and they were right. Two years during a lifetime is a lot to give. But the truth of the matter is, citizens who do give realize that they become enriched just like those folks that they're helping.To empower Americans looking to help, we launched what's called the USA Freedom Corps. The goal of the USA Freedom Corps was to connect Americans with opportunities to serve our country, to foster a culture of citizenship and responsibility and service. Over the last six years, USA Freedom Corps has met these goals.One way we helped was to launch a web site called volunteer.gov, which is the largest clearinghouse of volunteer opportunities in America. In other words, we used high-tech innovations to be able to channel people's desire to serve in a constructive way.And so this government website directs people to private charities, or local churches, or Habitat for Humanity drives, or Meals on Wheels -- just opportunities to serve their neighbor. We can't put love in somebody's heart, but we certainly can help somebody channel their love. And that was the purpose of the website.And you can search my hometown. They tell me that if you get on Crawford, Texas, you'll find that the local Humane Society seeks volunteer pet groomers -- which makes Barney really nervous. (Laughter.)This is just one of 4 million volunteer opportunities on the USA Freedom Corps web site. Isn't that interesting? There are 4 million opportunities for somebody who wants to serve to say, here's how I can help. And so I urge our fellow citizens to go to the website and find out if there's not something that'll interest you, something that'll give you a chance to serve something greater than yourself.USA Freedom Corps fosters a culture of service by encouraging the private sector to step forward. We got what we call the pro bono challenge, which encourages corporate professionals to donate their services to charities and nonprofits. That makes a lot of sense, doesn't it, to encourage corporate America to not only serve their shareholders, but serve the communities in which they exist.One really interesting, innovative idea came out of IBM this year. IBM employees will donate millions of dollars of service to charities in the U.S., as well as technology projects in developing nations. They tell me that this work would cost 0 million if IBM's devoted employees were charging, and not providing for free. I want to thank the CEO of IBM, Sam Palmisano, who is with us today. Sam, thank you very much for coming. (Applause.) And I encourage corporate America to figure out ways that they can serve to make America a better place.Another key component of USA Freedom Corps is our effort to keep track of Americans' service to others. I mean, it's one thing to talk about it, it's another thing to measure, to kind of see how we're doing. In 2002, this administration became the first to conduct a regular survey of volunteerism through the U.S. Census Bureau. Because we've begun to measure, we know that nearly 61 million Americans now give their time to help their neighbors. Isn't that interesting? Sixty-one million of our fellow citizens volunteer. (Applause.)200809/47880

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