By the President of the United States of America
On October 6, 1683, the first German immigrants to America landed near Philadelphia. This small group of men, women, and children had sailed across the vast, treacherous waters of the Atlantic in search of religious freedom and a more prosperous future in the New World. Seven million other Germans eventually followed in their wake. These courageous, hardworking individuals and their descendants have helped to write the story of the United States.
The rich heritage we celebrate each year on German-American Day consists of more than cultural, familial, and historic ties, however; it is also rooted in shared values and aspirations. Ever since General Friedrich von Steuben stood on the front lines in this Nation's struggle for liberty and independence, German immigrants and their descendants have demonstrated -- through word, deed, and sacrifice -- their strong devotion to democratic ideals.
German-American Day, 1990, is like none before it, for this year's commemoration coincides with the achievement of the goal Americans and Germans have long shared: a united, democratic, and sovereign Germany. During the past year, the German people have torn down the artificial barriers that, for too long, cruelly divided their country. The Berlin Wall, which once stood as a bleak and even deadly symbol of division, now lays in ruin -- a fitting reminder of the discredited regime that had directed its construction 29 years ago. Today Germany is at peace with its neighbors and, on this day of German unity, at peace with itself.
The achievement of German unity will also give hope to others, particularly the Baltic peoples, that a peaceful but determined struggle for national self-determination can succeed even over seemingly insurmountable obstacles. The United States remains true to its policy of nonrecognition of the annexation of the Baltic states, just as we never wavered in our support for German unity even through the darkest hours of the Cold War.
Since the end of World War II, the American people have stood shoulder to shoulder with the people of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) in efforts to secure our freedom and to advance our common interests. The spirit of friendship and cooperation between the people of the United States and the FRG is reflected in the wide range of exchange programs and other contacts we have developed over the years.
Now, from this day forward, a new, united Germany will be our partner in leadership. We Americans, and above all, those of German descent, are proud of the role we have played in support of German unity. We rejoice with the German people on this day and celebrate the centuries-old relationship between the German and American peoples.
The Congress, by House Joint Resolution 469, has designated October 6, 1990, as "German-American Day" and has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of that day.
Now, Therefore, I, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim October 6, 1990, as German-American Day. I call upon the people of the United States to observe that day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this third day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fifteenth.