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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release April 30, 1999




Born in the twilight of the 18th century, our great Nation has grown and flourished, surviving a civil war, the Great Depression, two World Wars, and the Cold War to emerge at the dawn of the 21st century as the world's best hope for freedom. The success of that journey of challenge and change was no accident. In 1787, when our founders came together to sign the Constitution and "secure the Blessings of Liberty," honor individual rights, and guarantee equality, they laid the foundations of a country that would inspire the lasting loyalty and love of its citizens.

The courage and sacrifice of generations of Americans who have served in our Armed Forces have sustained the vision of our Nation's founders. From the fields near Lexington and Concord to the skies over Belgrade, nearly 50 million citizens have placed themselves in harm's way to defend our freedom, promote our values, and advance our interests around the world. Many of them have died in the process, willing to make the ultimate sacrifice out of loyalty and devotion to our beloved country.

Millions of other generous men and women have proved their loyalty here at home. They have enriched the lives of their fellow Americans by volunteering in civic, religious, and school organizations. Throughout the decades, they have worked to expand America's promise of justice and equality to all our people, promoting civil rights, economic and educational opportunity, and political empowerment. In every era, they have worked to address this country's challenges and renew our legacy of citizen service. In doing so, they have strengthened our Nation from within and provided a symbol of hope around the world for those who seek refuge in a land where individual rights are revered and where their children can grow up in peace and freedom.

Recognizing the importance of loyalty to the continued strength of our country and success of our democracy, the Congress, by Public Law 85-529, has designated May 1 of each year as "Loyalty Day." On this day, let us reflect with pride on our great country and remember with gratitude the contributions of the many loyal and courageous Americans who have given so much of themselves both at home and around the world to preserve our freedom.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 1, 1999, as Loyalty Day. I urge all Americans to recognize the heritage of American freedom, to honor the memory of those who have served and sacrificed in defense of that freedom, and to express our loyalty to our Nation through appropriate patriotic programs, ceremonies, and activities. I also call upon Government officials to display the flag of the United States in support of this national observance.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of April, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-third.


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