Remarks at a Performance of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus

April 15, 1985

The Ringmaster. Mr. President, welcome to Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, on behalf of our producer, Kenneth Feld, and children of all ages everywhere.

It is truly an honor to have you here at the Greatest Show on Earth. You have your official ringmaster's whistle. And now, will you honor us by starting our show?

The President. I will. And I want to say thanks to all of you and to all of the performers that we're going to see here for what they're doing for all of us. And later on I'll have a few words to say to all of you, but right now I'm not going to hold the show up. So, I think that's what the whistle is for. All right.

[At this point, the President blew the ringmaster's whistle to begin the circus. The President then sat with students from Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School to watch the first half of the performance.]

The President. Thank you all very much. But more importantly, all of you there in the stands -- including myself now up here -- shall we just once let out a yell and show how much we appreciate what all these wonderful people have been doing for us here for the last hour?

Audience. [Applause and cheers]

The President. There it is. We really thank you. You know, this year is Ringling Brothers' 100th birthday. They're just a little older than I am. And this year they're going to do more than just entertain people. The Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus, traveling across the country, is going to have a program that is called the Safe Kids campaign.

With all of the lost children, the problems that we're having in this country, they're going across the country; they're going to give children and parents an opportunity to obtain free educational material, identification documentation, and help keep their families safe and secure.

Earlier this month I met at the White House with a group of leaders from the communities, from law enforcement, schools, business, government to talk about what can be done to keep all children safe. And I asked them to form a national partnership for child safety.

And now I'd like to ask all of you boys and girls who are here today to join, at least in part time, in that campaign. And I've jotted down a few things here on a card that we'd like to ask you to do and to tell you what to do and how you can help:

Number one, be sure to learn and know your full address and your home phone number.

Second, always let your parents know where you are, and learn to use the phone so that you could call them from anywhere.

And third and most important, listen carefully to all the special safety tips that your parents and your teachers tell you.

Each and every one of you is very important to all of us. I think you could see that when these wonderful people here were willing to give of their talent and their time to entertain us the way they have. And now, throughout the country, they're going to be participating in campaigns to see if we can't prevent the disappearance of children, that has been happening in our country.

That's all the time now, and I've taken too much time away from -- all the beauty and the glamor is here -- but just to add my thanks to all of you here in the show, to all of you for being here.

Thank you. God bless you all.

Note: The President spoke at 10:55 a.m. at the District of Columbia Armory.