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Proclamation 6484—Columbus Day, 1992

October 01, 1992

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

A half-millennium ago, one man who dared to defy the pessimists and naysayers of his day made an epic journey that changed the course of history. That man was Christopher Columbus, and the account of his first voyage to the Americas provides us with timeless lessons about faith and courage in the face of the unknown, about the power of individuals to make a difference, and about the rewards of cultural and commercial exchange among nations.

Behind the larger-than-life legends that have evolved around Columbus is an ordinary, fallible man who achieved extraordinary, unforgettable things -- and through qualities that any of us might well emulate today.

As with all progress, Columbus' great journey began with learning and hard work. Before he became a master mariner, Columbus was first a diligent student and deckhand who gained his knowledge and skills in Lisbon, then Europe's leading center of overseas exploration. Thus it was with both a strong foundation and a profound sense of higher purpose that Christopher Columbus set sail toward the horizon. If we are to continue to cross new frontiers today, we must not only cherish knowledge and learning, as did the peoples of the Renaissance, but also have faith and courage in the face of the unknown.

Although Columbus was slow to shrink from ridicule and adversity, he was quick to seize an opportunity; and when the Spanish monarchs Ferdinand V and Isabella I agreed to support his daring enterprise, this brave son of Geona quickly readied the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria for their long ocean voyage. The story of Columbus is, therefore, a fitting prologue to our American narrative, for the history of the United States is filled with accounts of individuals who made a difference because they had the freedom, the opportunities, and the wherewithal to do so.

Columbus' first voyage to the Americas took just 33 days, yet it refuted centuries-old myths and transformed the lives of generations to come. The great encounter that was made possible by Columbus and his crew linked peoples on both sides of the Atlantic in a long and fruitful exchange of knowledge, resources, and ideas that continues to this day. Hence, on Columbus Day we celebrate both the rich heritage of America's native peoples and the development of the United States as a Nation of immigrants.

Finally, I am pleased to note that in many schools, teachers and students are planning to observe this Columbus Day with a special celebration of the 100th anniversary of our Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. Written in honor of Columbus Day a century ago, the Pledge has inspired generations of Americans to a greater love of country. As we celebrate the legacy of Columbus and the diverse cultural heritage of the United States, it is fitting that we also recall our many blessings -- and responsibilities -- as "one Nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

The Congress, by joint resolution of 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, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim October 12, 1992, as Columbus Day. I encourage all Americans to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities. I also direct that the flag of the United States be displayed on all public buildings on the appointed day.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of October, 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 6484—Columbus Day, 1992 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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