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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release October 6, 1995




To pursue ambitious goals and to realize great dreams, we must be willing to venture away from the familiar and comfortable. We must show the strength of our convictions to tackle the challenges, known and unknown, that stand between us and our hopes for the future.

Today, Christopher Columbus' extraordinary journeys stand as inspiring examples of such determination. This renowned explorer braved the open sea, so feared by his contemporaries, and revealed the splendors of the New World to Renaissance Europe over 500 years ago. He discovered the best use of the North Atlantic wind system, first described the Equatorial Current, and initiated the succeeding rapid exploration and settlement of the Americas.

During the course of his first transatlantic voyage, Columbus' bold convictions overcame the resistance of the faint-hearted members of his crew. He led them to the Canaries, the Bahama Islands, Cuba, and Haiti, and subsequent sailings took him to other Caribbean islands, Central America, and Venezuela. As with many pioneers throughout history, Columbus' limited understanding of other cultures led to conflicts and controversies -- struggles similar to those that challenge our world even now. But the enduring fame of his travels and the opportunity he sought across uncharted waters remain a call to all who seek adventure.

A native of Genoa, Columbus' courage and commitment led him to leave safe shores in pursuit of his goals. But he could not have made his trips without the support of the Spanish crown. People of Italian and Spanish descent continue to energize communities across our Nation, enhancing every occupation and sector of American society. We are grateful for their tremendous contributions and for the ingenuity of spirit that is Columbus' enduring legacy.

In tribute to Columbus' many achievements, the Congress, by joint resolution of April 30, 1934 (48 Stat. 657), and an Act of June 28, 1968 (82 Stat. 250), has requested the President to proclaim the second Monday in October each year as "Columbus Day."

NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim October 9, 1995, as Columbus Day. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities. I also direct that the flag of the United States be displayed on all public buildings on the appointed day in honor of Christopher Columbus.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this sixth day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-five, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twentieth.


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