Proclamation 5716—Columbus Day, 1987
By the President of the United States of America
Every October the people of the United States celebrate the day nearly 500 autumns ago when Christopher Columbus and the crews of the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria found a New World. That world is our Western Hemisphere, and we in the United States trace the history and development of our country and our culture back to Columbus and his daring exploration, his initiative, his faith, and his courage.
Columbus continues to inspire the United States and the rest of the world for almost half a thousand years because of his great understanding and vision and because of his single-minded determination to let no disappointment, ridicule, or risk keep him from a goal he knew to be sensible, feasible, and of great promise. He viewed the unknown as an opportunity, not as a danger.
The Admiral of the Ocean Seas is remembered as well for challenging the horizons of his time and place, for his spirit of reaching beyond the obvious, for defying the pessimists and expanding the frontiers of knowledge. That spirit animated those who followed him to the New World through the centuries and brought untold energy, boldness, and ingenuity with them. We Americans are risk-takers; like Columbus, we have a vision of the world as it can be, and of the future as an opportunity and a challenge.
Italian Americans have special reason to celebrate Columbus Day with great pride. Columbus was the first of many Italian travelers who have made contributions to the New World. Columbus is one of many links binding the United States and Italy in a special relationship.
This tribute also has special meaning for Americans of Spanish descent. Without Spanish support, Columbus's voyage of discovery would not have been possible. Spain's contribution to the New World and to its cultural and economic heritage went on to be even larger, as the recent visit by Their Majesties King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain to the American Southwest reminded us.
The year 1992 will be the 500th anniversary of Columbus's first voyage to the Americas. The Christopher Columbus Quincentenary Jubilee Commission, a distinguished group of Americans aided by representatives from Spain and Italy, prepared a report that I transmitted to the Congress in September of this year, making recommendations for our Nation's observance of the Quincentenary, including themes that embody the broad significance of this anniversary and suggestions for Quincentenary programs that will extend to communities, organizations, and institutions around the United States.
In tribute to Christopher Columbus, the Congress of the United States, by joint resolution approved April 30, 1934 (48 Stat. 657), as modified by the Act of June 28, 1968 (82 Stat. 250), has requested the President to proclaim the second Monday in October of each year as "Columbus Day."
Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Monday, October 12, 1987, as Columbus Day. I invite the people of this Nation to observe that day with appropriate ceremonies in honor of this great explorer. I also direct that the flag of the United States be displayed on all public buildings on the appointed day in honor of Christopher Columbus.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twelfth.
Note: The proclamation was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on October 2.
Ronald Reagan, Proclamation 5716—Columbus Day, 1987 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/251609