Bill Clinton photo

Proclamation 6539—Greek Independence Day: A National Day of Celebration of Greek and American Democracy, 1993

March 25, 1993

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

The people and Government of the United States join the people and Government of Greece in celebrating Greek Independence Day. The close and cordial ties between our nations are built upon the solid foundation of a common love of democratic values, strong cultural ties between our peoples, and a respect for human rights. Greek influence on American culture extends from the ideas of the great Hellenic thinkers to the many important contributions of Greek Americans today. These ties continue to strengthen the relationship between our nations and provide a solid and promising basis for the future.

Two thousand and five hundred years ago, Cleisthenes succeeded in instituting a series of reforms in Athens and across the Peninsula of Attica that expanded the rule of government to a much broader group of citizens. The concept of democracy was thus created and embodied in a series of rights and laws. The personal freedom that resulted from these reforms sparked a period of cultural growth in philosophy and the arts to which Western culture is eternally indebted.

The United States is proud to acknowledge the enormous debt it owes to the Greek philosophers and politicians. In creating a new Nation, the American Founding Fathers drew upon the Greek writings for inspiration as to the purpose of government and in order to define the common good of society. Hellenic ideals have also shaped our democracy through architecture. Across our Nation and especially in the Nation's Capital, the seats of representative government are housed in buildings inspired by the grand proportions and beautiful lines of Greek temples. In both nations, these buildings remind us of the ideals of truth, justice, and faith in the human ability on which our societies are founded.

Our nations share not only the common bond of democratic philosophy but also the willingness to fight for selfdetermination and freedom and to be vigilant in protecting these hard-won rights. The Greek struggle for independence 172 years ago has long been admired by American citizens. In this century, the United States and Greece joined together to oppose threats to our democratic values from fascism and communism.

It is fitting, therefore, that our two great democracies pause to realize how much they have benefited and continue to benefit from each other. As part of this effort, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Ministry of Culture of Greece have gathered a landmark exhibit of sculptures from the 5th century B.C. These sculptures, many of which have never left Greek soil, document in art the birth of the concept of the individual. In return for these gracious loans from Greece, the two American museums have lent more than 70 major paintings from their permanent collections for an exhibit at the National Gallery of Greece in Athens. This summer the National Archives will also display artifacts from the 5th century B.C. which demonstrate the great degree of participation of Athenians in their government. It is appropriate that our own Constitution will be juxtaposed against these artifacts.

In recognition of the close bond that has been forged between the nations and peoples of the United States and Greece, the Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 22, has designated March 25th as "Greek Independence Day: A National Day of Celebration of Greek and American Democracy" and has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this day.

Now, Therefore, I, William J. Clinton, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim March 25, 1993, as Greek Independence Day: A National Day of Celebration of Greek and American Democracy. I call upon all Americans to observe this day, the 172nd anniversary of the beginning of the Greek revolution against the Ottoman Empire, with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities in honor of the Greek people and Greek independence.

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

Signature of William J. Clinton


William J. Clinton, Proclamation 6539—Greek Independence Day: A National Day of Celebration of Greek and American Democracy, 1993 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Simple Search of Our Archives