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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release July 23, 1999




Parents are the foundation of the family and a cornerstone of community life in America. They instill the values, attitudes, and guidance children need to become strong individuals and caring citizens; we turn to our parents for the unconditional love and encouragement we need to make the most of our lives and to contribute to the life of our Nation. On Parents' Day, we pay tribute to the millions of parents whose care has nurtured us, whose vigilance has protected us, and whose selfless devotion has blessed our lives.

The challenges of parenthood have changed as our society has changed. In many American families, both parents work outside the home and struggle to balance the competing demands of job, home, and family. In others, a single parent bears these responsibilities.

My Administration continues to support parents through initiatives such as the Children's Health Insurance Program and Head Start and by advocating child care, adoption, and child welfare expansion. We have worked hard to help parents support their families financially by creating new jobs, raising the minimum wage, expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit, preserving the national guarantee of health care for poor children, and increasing child support collections to record heights. We have helped parents balance work and family by enacting the Family and Medical Leave Act and releasing funds for after-school grants so that parents do not have to choose between keeping their jobs and ensuring that their children receive quality care and supervision.

Though helping parents do their job has always been a top priority of my Administration, we recognize that government programs alone cannot solve all the problems that families face today. For example, I am heartened by the passionate commitment of parents across America in response to our call for a national campaign to prevent youth violence. This campaign will ask all sectors of society to focus on this crucial issue, to discover what measures work, and to share that knowledge with other families in communities across our country.

There is no single cause or solution to ending the violence that has cut short too many young lives. But, by working together, we can change the values of our culture and influence the marketing strategies of media industries so that our children are not continually exposed to violent or other inappropriate materials in the games they play, the programs and movies they watch, or the music they hear. We also must continue our efforts to ensure that our young people do not gain unauthorized access to guns. Parents play a crucial role in all of these endeavors by remaining involved in the lives of their sons and daughters.

The First Lady and I have issued a challenge to our Nation to celebrate the coming of the new millennium by honoring the past and imagining the future. As we prepare to enter the 21st century, let us remember that, just as parents remain a treasured link to our past, they also influence the future by raising their children to become the responsible citizens of tomorrow. On this day and throughout the year, let us honor the millions of devoted mothers and fathers who have fulfilled this solemn responsibility with extraordinary compassion, generosity, and love.

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 laws of the United States and consistent with Public Law 103-362, do hereby proclaim Sunday, July 25, 1999, as Parents' Day. I invite the States, communities, and the people of the United States to join together in observing this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities to honor our Nation's parents.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-third day of July, 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-fourth.


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