WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump took pictures with and addressed a group of around 200 American Legion Nation delegates, leadership, and staff in the White House Rose Garden on Wednesday as the crowd cheered and chanted at his encouraging words.
“You all share incredible talent and drive,” Trump told the guests. He said most of all they have each other. “We love our country, right?” Trump said to shouts of “yes” and applause.
The President continued:
For more than a century, the American Legion has taught young citizens about the importance of patriotism and loyalty to our country. And through it all, there’s nothing like what you’re doing today and what you’ve achieved over a very, very short period of time.
Trump praised and offered thanks to Commander Charles Schmidt, President of the American Legion and Auxiliary Mary Davis, and Executive Director Verna Jones. “I want to thank you for your commitment to these incredible students and to our country,” he said. Trump then thanked former National Commander Bob Turner for his 35 years of service to Boys Nation.
“Bob! Bob! Bob!” chanted the crowd.
President Trump said to Turner, “I know everyone here today agrees when I say thousands of young Americans are better patriots because of your incredible and steadfast service.”
Trump recalled the history of the American Legion and its founding in 1946. He spoke of the achievements of former American Legion participants, asking the crowd which former president was involved. “Bill Clinton,” the crowd replied. “That’s true,” he affirmed.
Trump recalled moments in American history that occurred in the lifetime of the American Legion, the WWII veterans that had just arrived home from war and President Ronald Reagan calling for the Berlin wall to come down.
“In each of these moments and so many others, America triumphed. We win,” said Trump. “And we win because of the spirit of our people.”
He cited the November 8, 2016 election as one of the “amazing moments in history” the young group will see in their lifetime. He lauded how well the country has been doing and asked, “You all happy?” The crowd cheered, “Yes!”
“You have what it takes to be the leaders that will shape this future,” said Trump. He counseled them to do what they love, pour their whole heart into everything they do, and to never give up.
“Does anybody here give up?” asked Trump. “No, sir!” shouted the crowd. “What about here?” asked Trump. “No, sir!” they again replied.
As Trump concluded, the crowd sang the Battle Hymn of the Republic, then chanted “USA! USA! USA!” He sent them off saying, “Have a great life and love your country and love your God.”
Throughout the program, the volume of the cheers and singing could be heard through to the White House Press Briefing room. The crowd was made up of 98 Boys Nation Delegates, 100 Girls Nation Delegates, American Legion leadership and staff according to a press pool report.
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