View Header


Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release October 6, 1995




Every October, we celebrate Leif Erikson Day and honor the memory of that great Norse explorer who first set foot on North American soil nearly a millennium ago. At a time when mankind has traveled from pole to pole and even journeyed into the vast reaches of space, Leif Erikson's bold determination stands as an early example of the spirit of adventure and enterprise.

This day is an occasion to celebrate the bonds of friendship that link the United States to the Nordic countries. For generations, Iceland and her neighbors have acted as bridges between Europe and North America, playing a vital role in fostering democracy and free trade throughout the world. Nordic peoples have long shared America's love of liberty and have always reached out to those who struggle against oppression. Today, we in the United States are proud to work with our Northern friends to fully reintegrate the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania into the Western family of nations. Together we look forward to a new Europe, united by a common respect for liberty and equality.

We should also mark this observance by recognizing the outstanding contributions that citizens of Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian, and Swedish descent have made to our country. Just as their ancestors did before them, Nordic Americans cherish their ties across the ocean and bring their many gifts to America's culture, progress, and prosperity. As we remember Leif Erikson, whose voyage preceded so many rugged immigrants who braved the North Atlantic in search of economic, political, and religious liberties, let us pay tribute to his courage and renew our commitment to freedom.

In honor of Leif Erikson -- son of Iceland, grandson of Norway -- the Congress, by joint resolution approved on September 2, 1964 (Public Law 88-566), has authorized and requested the President to designate October 9 of each year as "Leif Erikson Day."

NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim October 9, 1995, as Leif Erikson Day. I encourage the people of the United States to observe this occasion with appropriate ceremonies and activities commemorating our rich Nordic American heritage.

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.


# # #