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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                        (Little Rock, Arkansas)
For Immediate Release                                 September 25, 1997




As a free people, Americans have always sought to live our lives in peace; but history's harsh lessons have taught us that to remain free, we must be prepared for war. At many times and in many ways throughout the year, we remember the millions of selfless Americans whose wartime service helped preserve our freedom and the values we hold dear; and it is fitting that we should do so. But we must also remember that not all of the sacrifices that sustained us were made on the battlefield.

Long after the devastation of war ceases, the destruction left in its wake continues to afflict those who survive. For America's Gold Star Mothers -- who have lost a child in the service of our country -- the grief is particularly acute. The sons and daughters they cherished through the years, whom they guided and comforted through all the joys and heartaches of childhood and adolescence, were torn from their lives forever with cruel and sudden force. These mothers must live the rest of their lives knowing that the talents and ambitions of their children will never be fulfilled, that each family gathering or celebration will be shadowed by the absence of a dearly loved son or daughter.

Yet despite the enormity of their loss, America's Gold Star Mothers have continued to do what comes naturally to mothers: to comfort, to nurture, to give of themselves for the benefit of others. Through their devotion to our disabled veterans and their families, their generous community service, and their dedication to preserving the memory of the fallen, Gold Star Mothers remind us in so many poignant ways that true love of country often calls for both service and sacrifice.

For these reasons and more, and in recognition of the special burden that Gold Star Mothers bear on behalf of all of us, we set aside this day each year to honor and thank them and to rededicate ourselves to creating a world in which the kind of sacrifice they have been called upon to make need never be repeated. The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 115 of June 23, 1936 (49 Stat. 1895), has designated the last Sunday in September as "Gold Star Mother's Day" and has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this day.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Sunday, September 28, 1997, as Gold Star Mother's Day. I call upon all government officials to display the United States flag on government buildings on this solemn day. I encourage the American people also to display the flag and to hold appropriate meetings in their homes, places of worship, or other suitable places as a public expression of the sympathy and respect that our Nation holds for our Gold Star Mothers.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fifth day of September, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-second.


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