By the President of the United States of America
The America whose Bicentennial we celebrate this year was created and made great by the efforts of people who came to the shores of the new world in search of a future in which their opportunity would be determined by their own industry and desire to make better lives for themselves and their children. At the same time, they brought to this continent their own cultural heritage and, in so doing, contributed immeasurably to the formulation of the American spirit and character.
Americas Hispanic heritage was strong even before we achieved our independence. Men and women of Hispanic origin fought in the Revolutionary War and in subsequent conflicts. They have enriched our culture, arts and scholarship. They have used their talents to help America build a society based on ideals of freedom and equality.
This year is also the sesquicentennial of the Inter-American System, begun 150 years ago with the Congress of Panama. America's Hispanic heritage strengthens the ties of friendship and interdependence that bind the nations of the hemisphere. In celebrating it, we celebrate our mutual commitment to peace and amity.
In recognition of the invaluable contributions to our society of men and women of Hispanic origin, the Congress, by joint resolution approved September 17, 1968 (36 U.S.C. 169f) has requested the President to issue annually a proclamation designating the week including September 15 and 16 as National Hispanic Heritage Week.
Now, Therefore, I, Gerald R. Ford, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate the week beginning September 12, 1976, as National Hispanic Heritage Week. I call upon the people of the United States, especially the educational community, to observe that week with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this tenth day of September, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred seventy-six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and first.
GERALD R. FORD