THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
COLUMBUS DAY, 1998
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Today our Nation stands on the threshold of a new millennium, an uncharted time of great challenge and opportunity. To fulfill the promise of this new era, we must be adventurous, willing to leave known shores, and eager to embrace change. To find inspiration for this momentous journey, we need only look to the example of Christopher Columbus, who helped usher in a similar Age of Discovery more than 500 years ago.
A skilled and experienced seaman, Columbus pushed back the boundaries of the known world and charted a safe course across the ocean to a new continent. He was a master at reading and using the winds and discovered the best westward and eastward passages between Europe and North America. As Daniel Boorstin wrote in The Discoverers, ". . . a sailing vessel today, after all that has been learned in the last five centuries, could not do better than follow Columbus' route." Explorers, adventurers, and traders from many nations would follow his lead across the Atlantic, as would millions of immigrants in the centuries following his voyages. Although both a dreamer and a visionary, Columbus -- a son of Italy whose enterprise was funded by the Spanish crown -- could never have foreseen the multicultural, multiracial Nation that would ultimately emerge in the New World he helped to discover.
As we enter a new era, let us embrace Columbus' spirit of discovery and embrace as well the great diversity of cultures, religions, and ethnic traditions that we enjoy because so many have followed his course to this great land.
In tribute to Columbus' many achievements, the Congress, by joint resolution of April 30, 1934 (48 Stat. 657), and an Act of June 28, 1968 (82 Stat. 250), has requested the President to proclaim the second Monday in October of each year as "Columbus Day."
NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim October 12, 1998, as Columbus Day. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities. I also direct that the flag of the United States be displayed on all public buildings on the appointed day in honor of Christopher Columbus.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this ninth 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.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
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