Proclamation 6554

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Proclamation 6554
by Bill Clinton
Delivered on 30 April 1993.

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

It is proper that we celebrate America's forests, which provide us with a link to our past, a thriving ecosystem, and indispensable resources that are vital to our economy.

Trees are one of the symbols of our culture. Our forebears explored America's forests; lived, hunted, and fought in them; and celebrated them in art, music, folktales, and literature. Our traditions speak of the Tree of Life, just as Thomas Paine spoke of the Tree of Liberty. Paul Bunyan and Babe made their living in the forest, and Huck Finn used trees to make his wooden raft to ride down the Mississippi River on his great American adventure. Today, a walk through the woods or a city park reminds us of our country's special ties to the land we inherited.

Our trees are valuable protectors of our ecosystem. They provide a thriving habitat for animal and plant life; their roots curb soil erosion; their leaves freshen our air by providing oxygen; and their branches shelter us from the sun and the wind.

On Arbor Day, we also recognize those whose lives and livelihoods are intertwined with our forests. Generations of Americans have depended on forests for the lumber to build houses and the fuel to heat their homes. Many Americans continue to harvest lumber and produce wood products, foresters help us manage our forests wisely, and civic associations help ensure the preservation of our woodlands.

Despite the critical importance of our forests, we have not always been diligent stewards of our inheritance. Not long after the Civil War, our ancestors realized that the need for wood products was placing too great a demand on our forests. And in 1872, concerned residents of the State of Nebraska came together on the first Arbor Day to look to the future and preserve America's forests for our generation and the ones yet to come. As we approach the 21st century, we must rededicate ourselves to a forest policy that sustains a strong forest economy and a healthy ecosystem.

Arbor Day is commemorated with an activity in which every American can take part: the planting of a tree--in a backyard, in a park, or on a mountainside. Each new sapling planted today connects us to our parks and wilderness areas here at home, as well as to the tropical forests and wetlands around the world. We must ensure that our children and their descendants have just as much to celebrate on Arbor Day 100 years from now.

The Congress, by House Joint Resolution 127, has designated the last Friday in April as "National Arbor Day."

Now, Therefore, I, William J. Clinton, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim April 30, 1993, as National Arbor Day. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of April, 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.

William J. Clinton

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).