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REMARKS BY GOVERNOR GEORGE BUSBEE
GOLD FOR THE CAPITOL DOME
The journey you have just completed has
taken you across this vast state of ours, from our urban centers to the
rural countryside, from the shores of our Golden Isles to the mountains
of our beautiful north, and now finally from the gold hills of Dahlonega
to your final destination, the state capitol.
You have rekindled a spirit which lives
in all of us with this illustrious wagon train of yours, one that has brought
all of us together in an effort to retain a part of our past, a spirit which
is a symbol of our heritage and the strength of our future. I commend you
For some time now, the gold leaf which
surrounds and so beautifies the capitol dome has been flaking and peeling
off. Nature has, indeed, taken her toll upon the once brilliant sheen of
To replace the gold leaf would cost the
state over a quarter of a million dollars, a sum which seemed a bit much
for the state to spend on the rebeautification of the capitol during a time
of such high inflation.
However, there is an old saying: if there
is a will, there is a way. The will came from the inspiration of a group
of young, hardworking, and determined Jaycees from Dahlonega. The way: a
volunteer drive to reach out to every Georgian in an effort to save a part
of our past.
At first that $250,000 seemed like a lot
of money to raise to replace the gold dome which meant so much to us. But
once the people of Georgia found out about the needs of their gold dome,
offers of help came from every part of Georgia and also from many people
who live outside of our state.
Usually, when a project of this nature
begins, it is the large corporations that donate the vast majority of money
needed for the successful completion. However, the most impressive part
of this fundraising drive to me is the fact the Georgians from every walk
of life, and especially school children, are taking an active interest in
seeing this project through.
The most vivid and heart-warming example
of this attitude and help comes from our young children: first graders,
second graders, third graders, and on up are helping to raise money to replace
the gold. These kids have been earning nickels and dimes and quarters just
so they can contribute to the project in some small way. But to me, the
nickel or dime a young child contributes means as much or more in spirit
than any of the larger donations.
Many of our elementary schools have since
raised hundreds of dollars for this project. In the years ahead, many of
these youngsters will be able to tell their children how they were a part
of the placing of gold on our state capitol's dome.
This dream which will soon become a reality
was the idea of the young men of the Dahlonega/Lumpkin County Jaycees who,
in an effort to replace the gold, sought the much needed help of the entire
statewide Jaycees organization and the Georgia Building Authority. These
three organizations have worked hand-in-hand in helping to make this drive
such a success.
I would also like to commend six individuals
who I feel have contributed considerably of their time and energy in making
this goal reachable. They are Curt Massey and William Martin of the Dahlonega
Jaycees, Jerry Vincent and John David Miles of the Georgia Jaycees, Ed Jackson,
the educational coordinator for the project, and Steve Polk, director of
the Georgia Building Authority. Without the constant help of these individuals
we would not be here today.
We are honored to have with us Madeline
Anthony, Dahlonega historian, who was a part of the original wagon train
in 1958 and who is just as helpful in this project. I thank each of you.
Let me say to each and every one of you
who are here today and who have been associated with this project: thank
you. On behalf of the citizens of Georgia, I accept this most gracious gift
and I look forward to the day the gold being presented today is resting
on the dome of the state's capitol. Thank you.
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