Truly, there is "no place like home." There are no words to describe how great it was for Miss America to be back in Atlantic City.

The excitement of the Boardwalk Hall competition, the Miss America Show Us Your Shoes Parade and the hospitality of so many longtime citizens of Atlantic County came together for a fantastic homecoming.

Miss America must never again leave Atlantic City, no matter the challenges.

It will take a continued financial investment, as well as leadership by the board of directors and the committees of the organization. Look closely at Pasadena's Tournament of Roses as a model, and you will not go wrong. The visionary men who started the Miss America Pageant in 1920 knew what it would take - local people and businesses committing to the pageant's success and longevity.

And so, to Gov. Chris Christie, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, Atlantic City Alliance CEO Liza Cartmell, County Executive Dennis Levinson, Mayor Lorenzo Langford and, most of all, Sam Haskell III, CEO of the Miss America Organization - thank you from all of us across America who love the Miss America competition, believe in it and continue to support its mission and goals for young women around the country.

May there be continued success for Miss America in Atlantic City.

REV. GENE HILL

Modesto, Calif.

The Rev. Gene Hill is the former executive director of the Miss Idaho Scholarship Pageant.