By the President of the United States of America
Family life and the life of freedom are interdependent. In the arena of the family, children learn the most important lessons they will ever receive about their inherent dignity as individuals. They learn as well about the social and religious traditions that unite generation to generation, and they begin to acquire the values for which their ancestors sacrificed so much for freedom.
The centrality of the family is acknowledged even by those forces that would weaken or destroy it. Totalitarian societies see in the family a natural enemy, a bulwark of basic loyalties and inherited ideals that places allegiance in relationships that precede the claims of the state. Corrosive influences such as illegal drugs and pornography seek to substitute for the permanent bonds of family life a transient and ultimately false sense of happiness and fulfillment. Against these forces the family can often seem helpless and ineffective, but experience shows that it is in being tested that the strength of the family finally reveals itself. After all, the family has been with us from the dawn of human history, and there is no reason to believe that it will not endure.
National Family Week affords all Americans the opportunity to frankly face and assess the quality of family life in our Nation and to reflect on what each of us can do as a father, daughter, mother, son, or grandparent-as a member of a family-to strengthen this divine institution. Better yet, let us undertake this reflection as families and as a family of free people. As Chesterton said, "The family is the test of freedom." Let us make this another test America refuses to fail.
The Congress, by Public Law 99-94, has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of "National Family Week."
Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the week of November 23, 1986, as National Family Week. I invite the Governors of the several States, the chief officials of local governments, and all Americans to celebrate this week with appropriate ceremonies and activities. Taking note that this observance coincides with the celebration of Thanksgiving, I ask that all Americans give thanks to God on that day for the blessings of family life in our Nation and for His continued favor on our people.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-first day of November, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eleventh.
[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 4:41 p.m., November 21, 1986]