George Bush photo

Proclamation 6464—82nd Airborne Division 50th Anniversary Recognition Day, 1992

August 12, 1992

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

Members of the United States Armed Forces have proved, time and again, that they are the most highly prepared and thoroughly effective defense forces in the world. On this occasion, as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Army's 82nd Airborne Division, we salute an elite group of military personnel who stand among the best of the best.

Emerging from the ranks of the first "All Americans," an infantry unit that participated in three major campaigns during World war I and saw more consecutive days on the front lines than any other unit, the 82nd was reactivated just a few months after the United States entered World War II. The unit was designated as the Army's first airborne division on August 15, 1942.

The first such infantry unit of its kind, the 82nd Airborne quickly established its reputation as a leader in courage and achievement as well. From its initial parachute and glider assaults into Sicily and Salerno, through its participation at the Battle of the Bulge -- where it helped to inflict the blows that led to the final collapse of the Nazi war machine -- the 82nd proved to be a fearsome weapon in the Allied struggle against tyranny. "Those devils in the baggy pants," as an exhausted enemy soldier once described them, found no sacrifice too great, no counter-fire too fierce as they stormed from the skies in defense of freedom. By the end of World War II, more than 3,000 members of the 82nd had been killed or were missing in action. Another 12,604 had been wounded. Today we know that their extraordinary selflessness and daring not only hastened the day of victory but also offered enduring evidence of America's resolve to preserve liberty and democracy.

Members of the 82nd Airborne Division have maintained its tradition of excellence well beyond the events of a half-century ago, and on this occasion, we also recall their more recent heroism in the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, Grenada, and Central America. Just a fewe years ago, more than 2,000 Division paratroopers took part in Operation Just Cause, which liberated the people of Panama from a rutheless dictator. During the successful international effort to free Kuwait from the sinister aggression of Iraq's Saddam Husein, members of the 82nd proved, once again, why they are the United States' premier rapid deployment force.

Ready at all times to deploy anywhere in the world, and with just 18 hours' notice, the 82nd Airborne Division is a leader among leaders,a special object of pride among the strong and the brave. Thus, while all of America's service members and veterans deserve our respect and thanks, on this 50th anniversary of the 82nd Airborne, we raise a special salute to "America's Guard of Honor."

The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 270, has designated August 15, 1992, as "82nd Airborne Division 50th Anniversary Recognition Day" and has requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this day.

Now, Therefore, I, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby encourage all Americans to join in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the activation of the 82nd Airborne Division. Let us honor with appropriate ceremonies and activities the courages individuals who have served in the 82nd over the years, and let us remember through public and private prayer all those who have died in the line of duty.

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

Signature of George Bush


George Bush, Proclamation 6464—82nd Airborne Division 50th Anniversary Recognition Day, 1992 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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