Today I am pleased to sign S. 3181, the "National Moment of Remembrance Act," which designates 3:00 p.m. local time on Memorial Day each year as the National Moment of Remembrance, in honor of the men and women of the United States who died in the pursuit of freedom and peace. The Act also establishes a White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance, to coordinate and encourage commemorative events on Memorial Day each year, and a Remembrance Alliance, to assist the Commission in promoting the observance of the Memorial Day holiday and organizing an annual White House Conference on the National Moment of Remembrance.
Each Memorial Day, the Nation honors those Americans who died while defending our Nation and its values. While these heroes should be honored every day for their profound contribution to securing our Nation's freedom, they and their families should be especially honored on Memorial Day. The observance of a National Moment of Remembrance is a simple and unifying way to commemorate our history and honor the struggle to protect our freedoms.
This Act recognizes in law a commemoration begun on Memorial Day in May 1997, when "Taps" was played at 3:00 p.m. on many radio and television stations across the Nation as Americans paused to remember the men and women who have lost their lives in service to our country. This past May, both a Congressional Resolution and a Presidential Proclamation called for the observance of a National Moment of Remembrance. It is my hope that the establishment of the National Moment of Remembrance in law, along with the creation of the White House Commission, will promote greater understanding of the meaning of the Memorial Day holiday for all Americans.
In signing this Act, I note that the Appointments Clause of the Constitution requires that all Federal officers exercising executive authority be appointed in conformity with that Clause. Because the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution—who would be a member of the Commission—is not so appointed, he may not exercise significant governmental authority on the Commission but may directly participate in the ceremonial or advisory functions of the Commission. Moreover, because the members of the Remembrance Alliance are not appointed in conformity with the Appointments Clause, they must remain under the supervision of the Commission, and I interpret the Act to establish such a relationship between the two bodies.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
The White House, December 28, 2000.