By the President of the United States of America
In the last two decades of our Nation's second century, we entered upon the exploration of yet another frontier-the corridors of space. Seven years ago, on July 20, 1969, this great-national effort culminated in a transmission to Earth from a quarter million miles distance-"the Eagle has landed."
The world watched in awe as an American took his historic one small step onto the Moon. A dream of thousands of years had been realized. In keeping with tradition, the American presence in that new land was symbolized by the planting of the Stars and Stripes, which proclaimed the benefits of human freedom for the entire universe.
The space programs reflect not only technological skill of the highest order, they reflect the best in the American character-sacrifice, ingenuity and our unrelenting spirit of adventure. We begin our third century with a further expression of that combination, the brilliant unmanned mission to Mars, the most ambitious of all deep space explorations.
In celebrating the Bicentennial, we have gloried as a people in the history of a great and successful venture in the human experience. We gave thanks for our blessing and offered prayers for the future. It is appropriate that we again call upon Divine Providence for guidance and protection in our quest of space and those endless horizons in all the centuries to come.
As we once set about to conquer the wilderness and settle our continent, now we set out upon a journey into the unknown of our universe. Wherever we teach, we will have come in peace for all mankind.
Now, Therefore, I, Gerald R. Ford, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Tuesday, July 20, 1976, as Space Exploration Day. I urge all Americans, and interested groups and organizations to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this nineteenth day of July, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred seventy-six; and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred first.
GERALD R. FORD