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Sunday marks 40 years since President Carter took a steamboat down the Mississippi

WABASHA, Minn. (KTTC) – A Presidential arrival in style. This Sunday, August 18, will mark 40 years since President Jimmy Carter set sail down the Mississippi River in the Delta Queen.

According to a New York Times article published in 1979, President Carter’s visit was part of a seven-day riverboat journey from Minneapolis to Saint Louis.

“It was great, great experience I’ll tell you,” said one man who attended the event 40 years ago.

A banner with the words ‘Something Good About America… in Wabasha’ hung on the side of Wabasha’s bridge as thousands crammed together to get a look at the nation’s 39th President.

“How many of you believe we can have energy security in the United States of America?,” said President Carter during his campaign style rally. His speech that day and for the entire week-long trip was predominantly about his energy program which called for producing more oil and gas from U.S. wells and increasing solar and coal energy.

According to the President’s official daily diary, Mr. Carter only spent an hour and 45 minutes in Wabasha. Some of that time was spent greeting voters, offering up hand shakes, and even some hugs.

“I’m excited I got to shake Jimmy’s hand,” said one enthusiastic 30-something man. “I’ll never forget it as long as I live. It was quite an honor,” said another who went with his wife.

Though the President’s time in Wabasha was brief his visit meant a tremendous amount to those who call it home.

“Most of the people in the United States do not know where Wabasha, Minnesota is located, but now because the President will be here, millions who’ve never heard of Wabasha before will know where Wabasha is.”

Shannon Rousseau

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