Remarks by the President to the Joint Task Force-Full Accounting Excavation Participants (11/18/00)
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary
                  (Hanoi, Socialist Republic of Vietnam)

                           For Immediate Release
                             November 18, 2000

                         REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
                          EXCAVATION PARTICIPANTS

                          JTF-FA Excavation Site
                Tien Chau Village, Socialist Republic of Vietnam

11:30 A.M. (L)

     THE PRESIDENT:  At this spot 33 years ago this month, Captain Lawrence
Evert's F-105 was shot down.  No parachute was seen, the area was heavily
defended and there was no chance for a search.

     Today, I am honored to be here with Captain Evert's sons, Dan and
David, and I thank them for coming.  We believe we owe them, and all
Americans like them, what they came here for -- a chance, finally, to take
their father home.

     America is very proud of our Joint Task Force-Full Accounting.  These
young men and women have traveled half way around the world to bring home
comrades fallen in the war that ended before many of them were born.  They
spend up to 200 days a year here working to recover remains for American

     We are also grateful for the service of the members of the Central
Identification Labs, who help to end the anguish of not knowing.

     Our nation has made a commitment that we will not rest until we've
achieved the fullest possible accounting for our lost veterans.  But it is
only possible for us to fulfill our promise with the cooperation and
support of the Vietnamese government and the Vietnamese people.

     I want to personally thank the people of this village, this district
and province for your kindness, for coming forward with artifacts and
information to help the search, and for working so hard alongside our
service members and citizens.

     I also want to express the profound thanks of the American people to
the Vietnamese government for its support.  Among other things, it sent
engineers and technicians here to help us figure out how we can dig without
destabilizing the railroad nearby.

     The United States is doing what we can to repay the cooperation of the
Vietnamese and their government by doing all we can to help the people of
Vietnam find answers about their missing, as well.  I brought with me over
350,000 pages of documents that I hope will provide some of those answers
to the people of Vietnam.     Whether we are American or Vietnamese, I
think we all want to know where our loved ones are buried; I think we all
want to be able to honor them and visit their grave sites.  This common
endeavor we make as friends is unprecedented in all of human history.

     Once we met here as adversaries; today we work as partners.  We are
committed to keep at it until we bring every possible fallen hero home.  In
the process, we are committed to building a new future for the children of
Vietnam and the children of the United States, a future of friendship and

     While working together to recover those who were lost in a long-ago
war, we reduce the chances that any of our children will know war.

     Again, on behalf of the American people, I would like to thank all the
Americans who are involved in this astonishing endeavor, and all of our
Vietnamese partners, who stand in the mud and work at the screens to try to
find answers that are common to our humanity and go far beyond our
differences.  I thank you.  (Applause.)

END                                           11:40 A.M. (L)

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