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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Charlton Heston Speaks at NRA Convention

Aired April 26, 2003 - 10:23   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

PATTY DAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Charlton Heston, 78 years old, the former head of the National Rifle Association, now about to speak to the National Rifle Association convention in Orlando, Florida. Let's listen in. Wayne LaPierre introducing him.
WAYNE LAPIERRE, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION: ... still retains much of its gold finish.

Mr. President, you've ridden high in the saddle, and you made all of us proud. It's an honor to present you with this rare, engraved specimen of the quintessential cowboy rifles, a Winchester 1866. Chuck, this is a very valuable rifle, but I think it's about to become priceless, because I know you have something to say to all of us.

(APPLAUSE)

CHARLTON HESTON, FORMER PRESIDENT, NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION: From my cold dead hands.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you. Thank you, all. Thank you.

Thank you for everything, not only now, tonight, but through all the years. It's been a wonderful run. I am going to miss you.

LAPIERRE: Thank you, on behalf of all of us, C.H. We love you. Thanks for what you've done for the Second Amendment in the country. We know you have to go, but you're the best.

(APPLAUSE)

And Lydia Heston, too.

DAVIS: Rousing applause there at the National Rifle Association's annual convention in Orlando, Florida. Let's listen in to Charlton Heston's wife, Lydia, addressing the crowd.

LYDIA HESTON, WIFE OF CHARLTON HESTON: Good morning, NRA.

I'm thinking about an incident that took place many years ago. I was puttering around in my kitchen and listening to the radio, and suddenly I heard, "Charlton Heston has been nominated for the board of the NRA." I was appalled.

(LAUGHTER) My heart fell into my stomach, and I heard myself saying out loud, "There goes our life."

(LAUGHTER)

I could have said, "There begins our life," but I didn't know any better at that point.

It was a very, very short time before I realized what remarkable people the members of the NRA really are and how really, genuinely likable they are. And suddenly I discovered that certain members of the group were very, very lovable.

(LAUGHTER)

And I've really enjoyed every moment of it.

Chuck has found it a really gratifying experience. And what I really want to say is that I want to thank you for what you've done for him, to give him this marvelous challenge, this great cause to work for. It's kept him alive, and it really means the world to us.

So thank you very much, all of you. And good luck. You've made a wonderful choice for a new president.

Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

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