By the President of the United States of America
Our Nation was built on the steadfast foundation of the prayers of our ancestors. In times of blessing and crisis, stability and change, thanksgiving and repentance, appeals for Divine direction have helped the citizens of the United States to remain faithful to our long-standing commitment to life, liberty, and justice for all.
This reliance on spiritual assistance has especially characterized times of national transition and uncertainty. As our country was ravaged by the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln remarked, "I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go." And with him, millions of slaves cried out to the Almighty for an end to their suffering.
Abolitionist Frederick Douglass said this about the spiritual songs sung on the plantations: "Every tone was a testimony against slavery, and a prayer to God for deliverance from chains." Since that time, we have witnessed tremendous improvements in relations between people of all races and backgrounds. Indeed, long ago, through the work of prayer and common effort, and with the inspiration of the Creator, we began to turn the tide in this Nation from divisiveness and recrimination toward reconciliation and healing.
Let us not forget those painful lessons of our past, but continue to seek the guidance of God in all the affairs of our Nation. We must not become complacent, but rather press onward for the protection of the vulnerable and the downtrodden. In the words of President Lincoln, "it behooves us then to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins and pray for clemency and forgiveness" for any injustice we perceive in our midst. May we, the people of this country, set a steady course, dedicated to respect for one another and for individual freedom.
The Congress, by Public Law 100-307, has called on our citizens to reaffirm annually our dependence on Almighty God by recognizing a "National Day of Prayer."
Now, Therefore, I, William J. Clinton, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 4, 1995, as a National Day of Prayer. I call upon every citizen of this great Nation to gather together on that day to pray, each in his or her own manner, for God's continued guidance and blessing.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this fourteenth day of March, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-five, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and nineteenth.
William J. Clinton
[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 2:02 p.m., March 15, 1995]