By the President of the United States of America
Throughout its history, our Nation has benefited immeasurably from the myriad contributions of its older Americans. Our democracy owes its success in great part to the millions of senior citizens who through their work, their volunteer efforts, and their devotion to their families and communities have helped build the foundation of this country.
Each year, America reserves the month of May to pay tribute to the contributions and sacrifices of older Americans and to reaffirm our commitment to preserving and enhancing their quality of life. When Older Americans Month was established in 1963, only 17 million living Americans had reached their 65th birthday. About a third of older Americans lived in poverty, and there were few programs to meet their needs. But Americans were beginning to take a greater interest in their seniors, encouraged by President John F. Kennedy's strong leadership. Today, there are close to 34 million older Americans, and we are better addressing their needs with programs and laws-from Social Security to the Older Americans Act.
The theme for Older Americans Month this year, "Aging: Generations of Experience," recognizes the tremendous experiences and legacy of past generations that we enjoy today. And this year we proudly mark the 30th anniversary of the Older Americans Act. Through the Act's programs, administered by the Administration on Aging, millions of older Americans receive critical home and community-based care services that enable them to continue to live independently within their homes and among their loved ones and friends.
During this Older Americans Month, several thousand delegates from all across America will gather in Washington, D.C., for the historic White House Conference on Aging. And, during this month, we pay tribute to our country's older Americans and to the family members and volunteers who provide care for them. In addition, as we recognize the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II, we pause to give special recognition to our senior citizens who so valiantly fought for our freedoms.
Now, Therefore, I, William J. Clinton, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 1995, as "Older Americans Month." I call upon individual Americans, representatives of government at all levels, businesses and communities, volunteers and educational institutions to appropriately acknowledge the contributions of all older Americans not only this month but also throughout the year.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this third day of May, 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, 11:32 a.m., May 4, 1995]