Proclamation 5259—White Cane Safety Day, 1984
By the President of the United States of America
As increasing numbers of blind and visually handicapped people enter the American mainstream to live and work among sighted people, the public should be alerted to the significance of the white cane. The white cane is more than a guide for its users and a signal to others. Through the aid of a white cane and an informed and empathetic public, many blind and visually handicapped people can now enjoy the fullness of American life.
As we become sensitive to the needs of the blind and the visually handicapped, we remove shared burdens. As our visually handicapped citizens become more self-sufficient, the lives of those they touch are enriched by the example of their courage. Patronizing or pitying attitudes—barriers much worse than physical ones—will surely diminish as there is more interaction among us.
Sighted people should be aware that many white cane users lead independent lives and that others are well on their way to doing so. We should always provide them the kind of assistance that they need and appreciate.
In recognition of the significance of the white cane, the Congress, by a joint resolution approved October 6, 1964 (78 Stat. 1003), has authorized the President to proclaim October 15 of each year as White Cane Safety Day.
Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim October 15, 1984, as White Cane Safety Day. I urge all Americans to mark this occasion by acquainting themselves with the needs and accomplishments of blind and visually handicapped people, who want to make fuller use of their God-given potential, unhampered by misunderstanding on the part of sighted citizens.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twelfth day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and ninth.
Note: The proclamation was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on October 13.
Ronald Reagan, Proclamation 5259—White Cane Safety Day, 1984 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/260764