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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release July 27, 1999




In 1950, North Korea invaded its free neighbor to the south, raising the specter of armed communist expansion as a threat to democracies around the world. During the next 3 years of bitter struggle, more than 54,000 Americans gave their lives for the cause of freedom. With the signing of a negotiated armistice in 1953, the Korean War became for a time the "Forgotten War." But each year on National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, we pledge never to forget the lessons of that savage and costly conflict nor the members of our Armed Forces who risked their lives to defend democracy, human dignity, and the right to self-determination.

The Korean War taught us that we have many allies in our ongoing crusade for human freedom and democratic rule. Under the auspices of the United Nations, 22 countries joined the United States and South Korea in resisting communist aggression by sending troops and providing medical support. Etched in stone on the Korean War Veterans Memorial in our Nation's capital, the names of these countries remind us that free nations everywhere share a profound responsibility to assist those who seek to defend themselves from the aggression of brutal and oppressive regimes. The Korean War also taught us the importance of vigilance in recognizing threats to freedom and the need for vigorous and decisive action in resisting such encroachments. Though the dark shroud of the Cold War has lifted from our world, new regional and ethnic conflicts remain a threat to international peace and human rights. Whether in Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo, or elsewhere, we will continue to defend the same eternal values for which so many courageous Americans fought in Korea.

The Congress, by Public Law 104-19 (36 U.S.C. 127), has designated July 27, 1999, as "National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day" and has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this day.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim July 27, 1999, as National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day. I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities that honor and give thanks to our distinguished Korean War veterans. I also ask Federal departments and agencies and interested groups, organizations, and individuals to fly the flag of the United States at half-staff on July 27, 1999, in memory of the Americans who died as a result of their service in Korea.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-sixth 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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