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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release October 5, 1998




From the time our republic was born, German Americans have enriched our national life and culture. Many, seeking religious freedom, first settled in and around Philadelphia more than 300 years ago; and to this day, one of the largest neighborhoods in that city is called Germantown. Throughout the colonial period, more Germans arrived on these shores and made their homes throughout the Thirteen Colonies. Today, almost a quarter of the American people can trace their roots back to Germany.

German Americans have had an important and lasting impact not only on the growth of our Nation, but also on the formation of many of our deepest values. As skilled and industrious farmers, German Americans have shared their love for the land and a strong sense of family and community. With a deep respect for education and the arts, they have broadened the cultural life of the communities in which they live. And, from their earliest days in this country, Germans and German Americans have revered freedom, as epitomized by the service of General Friedrich von Steuben during America's struggle for independence and by the dedication of the entirely German American Provost Corps which, under the command of Major Bartholomew von Heer, served as General Washington's personal guard unit during the Revolutionary War.

All of us can take pride in the accomplishments of German Americans -- as soldiers and statesmen, scientists and musicians, artisans and educators. It is fitting that we set aside this special day to remember and celebrate how much German Americans have done to preserve our ideals, enrich our culture, and strengthen our democracy.

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 the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Tuesday, October 6, 1998, as German-American Day. I encourage all Americans to recognize and celebrate the many gifts that millions of people of German descent have brought to this Nation and that have enriched the lives of our citizens.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifth day of October, 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-third.


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