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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                        (Salt Lake City, Utah)

For Immediate Release February 27, 1998




Americans share a long tradition of compassion for others and lending aid to those in need. Since our earliest days as a Nation, we have been able to bear the heartbreak of family tragedy, personal hardship, or natural disaster because of the help of caring friends and neighbors. For 117 years, the American Red Cross has been the staunchest of friends and neighbors to millions of people both here at home and around the world, adding its own vital contributions to our history of service.

The American Red Cross brings both comfort and practical assistance to the victims of more than 65,000 disasters each year, from hurricanes and tornadoes affecting thousands of people to a house fire involving a single family. Members of the Red Cross also work on the front lines of armed conflicts and disasters across the globe to relieve suffering and restore human dignity and self-sufficiency. At the same time, they serve alongside our men and women in uniform wherever they are deployed, relaying urgent family messages and providing a precious link with home. And through its Holocaust and War Victims Tracing and Information Center, the Red Cross has helped thousands of families in their search for information about the fate of loved ones from whom they were separated during the Holocaust.

Few of us have remained untouched by the work of the Red Cross. The Red Cross collects, tests, and distributes six million units of donated blood each year, nearly half the Nation's supply. More than 1,300 Red Cross chapters in communities across America teach health and safety courses to 12 million people each year, providing them with knowledge regarding CPR, first aid, water safety, and HIV/AIDS that can -- and does -- save lives.

The Red Cross has become a simple yet powerful symbol that transcends language and conveys a universally understood message of hope. This symbol draws its strength from the dedication of the more than 1.3 million volunteers who help disaster victims, assist at blood drives, teach health classes, and respond to urgent community needs. I commend the generous spirit of all those who carry out the important work of the American Red Cross, and I encourage all Americans to support their efforts -- whether by giving blood, donating funds to help disaster victims, or becoming Red Cross volunteers themselves. In doing so, we will ensure that the American Red Cross will continue its tradition of compassionate service in the 21st century and beyond.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America and Honorary Chairman of the American Red Cross, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 1998 as American Red Cross Month. I urge all the people of the United States to support Red Cross chapters nationwide, and I challenge each of you to become active participants in advancing the noble mission of the Red Cross.

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