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Proclamation 6279—Mother's Day, 1991

April 23, 1991

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

The beloved American humorist, Will Rogers, once said, "Mothers are the only race of people that speak the same tongue. A mother in Manchuria could converse with a mother in Nebraska and never miss a word." It was a remark made with the wry, good-natured wit that was Rogers' trademark. Yet beneath his lighthearted humor was a telling observation about human nature -- and about the nature of motherhood in particular.

The language of motherhood is indeed universal. It is the language of unconditional love, spoken throughout history by mothers of every race and every walk of life. Expressed most often through acts of selflessness and generosity, that great love can be read in a mother's eyes, which reveal untold depths of tenderness, worry, and pride in her children. It can be heard in her voice as she soothes a crying infant, as she gives instruction and encouragement to an older child, and as she inquires about the well-being of the young adult who has ventured out on his or her own. Most of all, that great love is communicated by example.

In the silent language of motherhood, any two mothers may offer each other empathy and reassurance just by exchanging a knowing glance or smile. Yet while the language of motherhood is universal, it is also profoundly intimate, as personal and mysterious as the bond between a woman and the child she has carried in her womb. We seldom understand the depth of a parent's love until we have youngsters of our own -- then our mother's lessons and example speak to us with renewed clarity and meaning. Indeed, her words often echo in our hearts as we rear our own children and experience for ourselves the singular joys, frustrations, and concerns that have always been a part of parenting. As we advance in years, we also begin to recognize the extent of our mother's influence upon our character and conduct; reflecting on her many gifts to us -- from her firm moral guidance and discipline to her patience and forgiveness -- we begin to comprehend the truth that led Abraham Lincoln to declare: "No man is poor who has had a godly mother."

With love of untold strength, mothers nourish and enrich the lives of their children and fortify the tender bonds of family life. In so doing, they also strengthen our communities and Nation. Thus, on this occasion, we gratefully honor all those women who, by virtue of giving birth or through adoption or marriage, are mothers.

On this day especially and on every day of the year, let us convey through word and deed our love for our mothers and our appreciation for all that they have given us. Whether we share those heartfelt sentiments in person, across the miles, or through loving memory, we cannot say too often: "Thanks, Mom, for everything."

In grateful recognition of the contributions that mothers make to their families and to the Nation, the Congress, by a joint resolution approved May 8, 1914 (38 Stat. 770), has designated the second Sunday in May each year as "Mother's Day" and requested the President to call for its appropriate observance.

Now, Therefore, I, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim that Sunday, May 12, 1991, be observed as Mother's Day. I urge all Americans to express their love and respect for their mothers on this day; to reflect upon the importance of motherhood to our families and Nation; and to ask for God's blessing upon both. I also direct Federal officials to display the flag of the United States on all Federal buildings, and I encourage all citizens to display the flag at their homes and other suitable places on that day.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this 23 day of April, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fifteenth.

Signature of George Bush


George Bush, Proclamation 6279—Mother's Day, 1991 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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