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Proclamation 6729—Child Health Day, 1994

September 30, 1994

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

It has been said that "(i)n every child who is born ... the potentiality of the whole human race is born again." Since James Agee wrote those words in 1941, generations of children have been born into our world, each individual holding as much promise and potential as the children of ages past. In recent decades, children have grown up to see the human race produce a vaccine for polio and pull back from the precipice of nuclear war. Indeed, in many ways, the world is a much safer place for all of us. It would seem that today's children would have a better chance than ever to fulfill the tremendous potential of humanity.

Yet as we celebrate Child Health Day this year, our young people face challenges to their well-being that their grandparents and great-grandparents could scarcely have imagined. In virtually every school and community, drugs and guns threaten our youths' safety, and gangs have become the closest thing to family that many young people will ever know. Girls too young to be mothers are struggling to meet the demands of parenthood, and many boys too young to be fathers are turning from the profound responsibilities they should shoulder. Among the primary health risks confronting our young people, homicide and suicide have become the leading causes of death.

If our Nation is to succeed in the years to come, we must take new responsibility for the lives of our children, from promoting proper nutrition and basic health and safety to raising awareness of the terrible dangers of substance abuse, teen pregnancy, and AIDS. Already, we have made important progress in those efforts. We have enacted legislation that expands and improves the Head Start program, providing health, education, and social services for children of low-income families. My Childhood Immunization Initiative will help to vaccinate at least 90 percent of our Nation's infants—the most sweeping effort of its kind in American history. Our new crime bill supports programs that encourage youth to develop a sense of self-worth apart from gangs, and it goes a long way toward keeping guns out of the hands of juveniles. Already, we are saving children's lives.

But for all that we have accomplished in the past year, much remains to be done. We must forge active partnerships among health, child development, education, and social services organizations. We must involve parents and siblings, schools and communities in protecting our youth. Every child needs and deserves our concern and respect, and these begin with personal involvement. Children need love, tempered by discipline. They need the freedom to dream, tempered by the knowledge of hard work. They need someone who will lift them up when they fall, who will care for their bruises and scrapes, who will kiss their tears away when they falter and applaud them when they succeed. Only we can do these things. And it is only in reaching out to children that we may discover the true potential within ourselves.

The Congress, by joint resolution approved May 18, 1928, as amended (36 U.S.C. 143), has called for the designation of the first Monday in October as "Child Health Day" and has 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 Monday, October 3, 1994, as Child Health Day. I call upon all Americans to rededicate themselves to ensuring that every generation of children enjoys bright and healthy futures.

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

Signature of William J. Clinton


William J. Clinton, Proclamation 6729—Child Health Day, 1994 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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