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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 14, 1996




America's high standard of living, advanced health care system, and commitment to better nutrition and physical fitness have allowed millions of our citizens the luxury of long and fulfilling lives. Because current estimates indicate that one in six Americans will be 65 or older by the year 2020, our Nation faces new challenges as we seek to address the needs of this growing population of seniors.

Fortunately, many of our older Americans -- who have already led the way in setting a sound course for our country's future -- are helping us to meet these new challenges as well. Having lived through times of depression and war, peace and prosperity, they have shaped our progress with their achievements. The safety net they created -- including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the provisions of the Older Americans Act -- helps us to honor our debt to senior citizens and ensures that Americans who have worked hard throughout their lives can look forward to a secure retirement.

Each year, we set aside the month of May as a special time to pay tribute to older Americans and to affirm our obligation to sustain and improve their quality of life. The theme of this year's observance, "Aging: A Lifetime Opportunity," underscores the gifts that older people offer to our country every day. Thanks to senior citizens, our communities are stronger, our Nation is more diverse, and we are better prepared to meet the challenges of the next century.

As we celebrate the contributions of all those in their golden years, let us recognize that long life is a gift we must cherish and a responsibility for which we must prepare. With an eye toward the future and with the example of today's seniors firmly before us, we can prepare for a better tomorrow for ourselves and for the generations of Americans to come.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 1996, as Older Americans Month. I call upon Government officials, businesses, communities, volunteers, educators, and all the people of the United States to acknowledge the contributions made by older Americans this month and throughout the year.

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


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