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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release September 29, 1999




As a free Nation, we must always remember that our achievements in peace have been built on the sacrifices of our veterans in war. We owe a profound debt to brave Americans like the members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States who knew their duty and did it well -- even at the risk of their freedom and their lives, and we are proud to honor the VFW as it celebrates its 100th anniversary.

Each VFW member has given double service to our Nation by answering the call to duty in the Armed Forces and by joining the VFW. Whether raising the morale of our men and women in uniform, helping veterans receive their much-deserved benefits, providing scholarships for our youth, or bringing hope and help to families and communities in need, these veterans have upheld the highest standards of service and citizenship. Perhaps most important, they are the living reminder of the countless men and women who have served and sacrificed throughout past decades to defend our Nation and preserve the liberties we hold so dear. VFW members and their fallen comrades have carried the torch of freedom both at home and in distant lands, and America remains forever grateful.

We have a solemn responsibility to ensure that all our veterans enjoy the quality of life they deserve. On Veterans Day last year, I was proud to sign into law the Veterans Programs Enhancement Act. This legislation improves a wide range of benefits and programs, including an increase in compensation payments to veterans with disabilities as well as benefits to the survivors of Americans who died serving our country.

The small groups of Spanish-American War veterans who first banded together in 1899 could not have envisioned that their numbers would grow to more than two million strong, or that the VFW would come to have such an enormous positive influence on the lives of generations of veterans, their families, and communities throughout our Nation. As we celebrate the centennial of the VFW, we honor these veterans for all they have done to build a proud past for our Nation and to ensure a brighter future for us all.

Recognizing the contribution of the Veterans of Foreign Wars to the continued strength of our country and success of our democracy, the Congress, by H.J. Res. 34, has called on the President to issue a proclamation in observance of September 29, 1999, as the "100th Anniversary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars." On this day, let us reflect with pride on our great country and remember with gratitude the contributions of the many loyal and courageous veterans 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 September 29, 1999, as the 100th Anniversary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. I urge all Americans to recognize this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-ninth day of September, 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.