Jimmy Carter photo

Remarks on Proclaiming Italian American Heritage Week in New York City

October 13, 1980

Distinguished Members of the United States Congress, Mr. Mayor, leaders of New York State and New York City and the surrounding areas, all of the great Americans of Italian descent and all of the rest of us who join you today:

If there's one thing I love, it's a good parade, and I believe this will be one of the greatest and best ones ever seen in our country. And I might say there's another parade that I like very much, a very favorite of mine. It comes ever 4 years in January. And I'm planning on leading that one, even though Luciano Pavarotti leads this one.

Four hundred and eighty-eight years after Columbus came, you and I, all of us are still discovering America, the greatness of this country, and the potential that we have to make it even greater.

Four hundred and eighty-eight years after the first Italian landed on the shores of America, Italian Americans are continuing that great tradition—the tradition of Enrico Caruso, Mother Cabrini, Enrico Fermi, Fiorello LaGuardia, and Luciano Pavarotti, who will lead the parade today. It is a tradition, as you know, which means a lot to all Americans, a tradition strong on family, a tradition strong on patriotism, a tradition strong on the dignity of work and the importance of education and religion and the power of love.

Our Nation's character is drawn from the diversity of our people, joined together in our separate identities in the greatest miracle of government ever known, in this magnificent amalgam called America.

Just as an Italian was the first to discover the new world, an Italian was the first to give it its name. And while this day is meant to honor Columbus, it's also meant to honor all the generations of Italians who have followed him to this great land, and to show our gratitude for all that you and they have done. As President of our great country, on behalf of more than 220 million Americans, I want to tell you how proud we are of Italian Americans, what you've meant to our Nation.

Happy Columbus Day, a greater future for us all.

Thank you very much.

And now I would like to sign a proclamation, in accordance with the law passed by the United States Congress.

[At this point, the President read the text of and signed the proclamation.]

Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 11:55 a.m. on the steps of the New York Public Library. Following the ceremony, the President joined other officials in leading the Columbus Day parade up Fifth Avenue.

As enacted, H.J. Res. 568 is Public Law 96-443, approved October 13.

Jimmy Carter, Remarks on Proclaiming Italian American Heritage Week in New York City Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/251022

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