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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release February 12, 1999


I am pleased to join all Americans in observing Presidents' Day.

Today we celebrate the vision and achievements of our nation's former Presidents, and we remember with special pride two of our greatest leaders, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Though born almost 80 years apart and shaped by vastly different circumstances and experiences, they still shared much in common. Each assumed the Presidency at a crucial moment in our nation's history; each had a clear vision of what America should be and the courage to lead his fellow citizens toward that vision; and each shared a profound devotion to our country and to its promise of freedom and human dignity. Because of George Washington, America's great experiment in democracy has succeeded; because of Abraham Lincoln, America's Union has been preserved.

Now, as we stand at the dawn of a new century, we have a historic opportunity -- and responsibility -- to build on the legacies of Washington and Lincoln. Blessed with peace and unprecedented prosperity, we must seize this unique moment in our national life and shape a future where every American has the tools and the opportunity to succeed; where we finally understand that the dreams and ideals that unite us are more powerful than any differences that divide us; and where new generations of Americans can live in peace, prosperity, and freedom.

Best wishes to all for a wonderful celebration.


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