By the President of the United States of America
It is fitting that Americans honor those individuals who have altered the course of history in this country by exhibiting great moral character and courage-men and women who have contributed to the development of personal liberties we enjoy today. Thus, it is especially appropriate that I urge all Americans to honor one of those individuals, Christopher Columbus.
Columbus was a bold and adventurous navigator who left Europe in 1492 in search of new lands and first recorded the sighting of the North American continent. In this sense he personifies the courage and vision so many explorers exhibited during this period. Yet he is more than this. He represents a spirit, the spirit of the Renaissance which contributed to the development of America. Along with Galileo, Copernicus, and others, Columbus symbolizes a quest for knowledge, a willingness and fortitude to go beyond what is accepted as truth in the name of progress. Columbus did not fall off the face of the earth; rather, through daring, risk, and innovation, he discovered new horizons.
Since Columbus discovered America, numerous families have exhibited that same courage and fortitude in setting sail across the seas to become American citizens. By taking that step into the new and unknown, those same families created an opportunity to realize increased prosperity and greater freedom here in these United States. The accomplishments and contributions of Christopher Columbus provide an example of the rewards that can come from taking initiatives. Today Americans have the opportunity and freedom to make accomplishments and contributions of their own and to enjoy the feelings of accomplishment which follow.
Of course Columbus Day is a day of special importance to Americans of Italian heritage. It is a day when all Americans should join in recognizing the great contributions of Italian-Americans to this country's cultural, scientific, athletic and commercial achievements, and religious vitality.
In tribute to the achievement of Columbus, the Congress of the United States, by joint resolution approved April 30, 1934 (48 Stat. 657), as modified by the Act of June 28, 1968 (82 Stat. 250), has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation designating the second Monday in October of each year as Columbus Day.
Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate Monday, October 10, 1983, as Columbus Day. I invite the people of this Nation to observe that day in schools, churches and other suitable places with appropriate ceremonies in honor of this great explorer. I also direct that the flag of the United States be displayed on all public buildings on the appointed day in memory of Christopher Columbus.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this 6th day of Sept., in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eightythree, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eighth.
[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 11:10 a.m., September 7, 1983]