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Treasures Tour Women's Rights National Historic Park

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First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton
M'Clintock House/Women's Rights National Historic Park

Waterloo, New York
July, 15, 1998

Thank you so much. Thank you all. I am just delighted to behere with all of you. And I apologize for how late we were. We've made anumber of stops today and somehow got a little behind schedule so thank youso much for being so patient, I understand that you have had a bit of icecream to help you pass the time and I am sorry I missed that.

I am delighted to be here. I would like to thank the Mayor for makingme feel so welcome. And for being here with us here this evening. I seeRobert Stanton who is the director of the National Park Service and MarieRuss, the Northeast regional director of the National Park Service, who arehere with us. I am also delighted to be here with the superintendent ofthe Women's Rights National Park and that's Josie Fernandez. And I amespecially pleased to be surrounded by all these Girls Scouts because, asit's already been said, I am deeply honored to be the National HonoraryPresident of Girls Scouts of the USA.

Many years ago, more than I care to remember some days, I was a GirlScout myself. Just like all of you who have come from around this regionto be here with us this week. I can remember how special it felt and howmuch work was involved in adding each new badge to my sash. And I amdelighted that you have this new badge to work toward. But I have toconfess that after hearing Carey, you did an excellent job didn't she--Ithink we want to thank you again Carey. I looked at the back of Carey'svest and there is hardly any room left she has so many badges; but thesebadges represent real commitment to learning and service on behalf of thecommunity and that's one of the reasons that I am so proud to be associatedstill, after all these years, with the Girl Scouts of the United States ofAmerica. Because you are teaching and learning new lessons every day aboutwhat it means to be a citizen and I think that is one of the most importantroles any of us possibly can fill.

That is, in fact, what motivated the women who came to the M'Clintockhouse. They wanted to be citizens, they wanted to feel that theircontributions and opportunities would be considered equal to those of theirhusbands, and fathers and brothers and sons. And we're on this tour thatends here at Waterloo and Seneca Falls because we want to help allAmericans honor the past and imagine the future. We want all Americans tothink about how to protect the sites and monuments that really tell us thestory of who we are and how we became the Americans we celebrate.

So for all of you who are Girl Scouts or Junior Rangers, who I knoware here as well, you're helping to remember and perpetuate the ideas andvalues that make America such a great country. And at the center of thatis the idea of being a citizen. Something that no one can ever take awayfrom you. I am delighted that we could come here to the M'Clintock home becauseI cannot not think of a better place to unveil the Girl Scout "millenniumpatch" than right here. It is because that many of us here, all of us whoare girls and women, owe a debt of gratitude to those courageous women whomet in this house. Imagine, if you will, how much courage it took to cometogether, to say loudly and clearly, to write out that Declaration ofSentiments, that we as women deserve to have equal rights as men. That wasa very radical idea in 1848.

When this house is restored, everyone who passes through it will knowmore about two very exemplary Americans: Maryann and Thomas M'Clintock.They and their children were an activist Quaker family who, in addition totheir efforts on behalf of women's rights, organized anti-slavery events,wrote and signed anti-slavery petitions and cared for African Americanchildren in this house, perhaps as part of the underground railroad.Everyone who passes through this house will see the parlor where LucretiaMott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Martha Right, Jane Hunt, and MaryannM'Clintock drafted the Declaration of Sentiments. Where they poured overspeeches and reports and resolutions for inspiration and where they decidedto model their efforts after the Declaration of Independence. Anyone whopasses through this house will hear loudly and clearly what they did tomake the Declaration of Independence apply to all of us. For ever morethey will be able to imagine in their heads these voices that say, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men and women are createdequal."

In order for that to happen a lot of work has to be undertaken and,yes, a lot of money has to be raised. In order to restore the M'Clintockhouse, nearly a million dollars has to be raised and yet I think that is amillion dollars that is very well invested. Because just as Josie said itwill draw people here, it will become a tourist attraction, and it willserve as a reminder for generations to come about those brave women and menwho decided to take stand on behalf of the right of a woman to become acitizen of our country.

The National Park Service the Seven Lakes Girl Scouts Council and somany of you here today are part of the effort to restore the M'Clintockhouse. I'm also pleased to announce that Anne Bartley of San Franciscowill be making a generous contribution to the restoration of the M'Clintockhouse that will move us toward meeting the goal we need to raise the moneyto restore this house, as it should be a tourist attraction and reminder ofwhat happened here 150 years ago.

Part of the reason that I am on this tour and going from place toplace is to remind all Americans that every community has a place thatshould be saved and remembered. If we think about our history, we want tosee it as it truly was: a history that included the contributions of allkinds of people. And we want to be able to make sure that thosecontributions are memorialized and that the legacy of brave men and womenof all races and backgrounds and experiences are remembered for generationsto come.

So let's be sure that just as the Girl Scouts will be doing their partto earn their badges that those of us who are no longer Girl Scouts, or nolonger eligible to be Girl Scouts, will do our part to earn, if you will,our badge as a citizen who honors the past and imagines the future. Let usbe good care takers, let us be good ancestors of those who come after. Letus be good citizens and honor the work of the women and men who met inSeneca Falls 150 years ago and let us also, along with these young girlsand women, imagine the kind of future that we want for all our children.

Thank you all very much.

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July 1998

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