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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 11, 1999




Since its adoption in 1777 by the Continental Congress, the Stars and Stripes has symbolized the promise of America. This promise -- of equality, justice under the law, freedom from tyranny, and inclusion in a government of the people -- beckons immigrants to our shores today just as it has for more than two centuries. Each time the Stars and Stripes is raised over our homes, public buildings, schools, or community gathering places, it proclaims that our Nation's great experiment in democracy is alive and well.

The stately design of the Stars and Stripes celebrates America's diversity while proclaiming the unity of our Nation. Its white stars, whose shifting constellation has chronicled the growth of our Nation, are the ancient symbols of a sovereign domain; they lie on a field of blue that represents loyalty, justice, and truth. Thus our flag describes the unique Republic designed by our founders, in which States that vary widely in geography, history, and culture are joined in sustaining the common goals and ideals our Nation holds dear. The Stars and Stripes reminds us that, wherever we come from across our country, we are all first and foremost Americans.

Today, as we stand at the threshold of the 21st century, we have a special opportunity to renew our flag's heritage and to honor the spirit of resilience in our national character that it signifies. As part of this effort, the White House Millennium Council's "Save America's Treasures Project," created by the First Lady, is helping to restore and preserve the original Star-Spangled Banner at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. This banner, "so gallantly streaming" as the British navy retreated from Baltimore Harbor after a failed assault on Fort McHenry in 1814, is immortalized in the bold and patriotic words of Francis Scott Key that now serve as our National Anthem. From the fledgling Nation of Key's time, defiantly opposing domination by European powers, the United States has evolved into a Nation of unrivaled influence in the world with an unparalleled commitment to democracy and human rights. During Flag Day and National Flag Week, we honor this incredible journey and the bright future it has made possible.

To commemorate the adoption of our flag, the Congress, by joint resolution approved August 3, 1949 (63 Stat. 492), designated June 14 of each year as "Flag Day" and requested the President to issue an annual proclamation calling for its observance and for the display of the Flag of the United States on all Federal Government buildings. The Congress also requested the President, by joint resolution approved June 9, 1966 (80 Stat. 194), to issue annually a proclamation designating the week in which June 14 falls as "National Flag Week" and calling upon all citizens of the United States to display the flag during that week.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim June 14, 1999, as Flag Day and the week beginning June 13, 1999, as National Flag Week. I direct the appropriate officials to display the flag on all Federal Government buildings during that week, and I urge all Americans to observe Flag Day and National Flag Week by flying the Stars and Stripes from their homes and other suitable places.

I also call upon the people of the United States to observe with pride and all due ceremony those days from Flag Day through Independence Day, also set aside by the Congress (89 Stat. 211), as a time to honor our Nation, to celebrate our heritage in public gatherings and activities, and to publicly recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eleventh day of June, 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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