By the President of the United States of America
Throughout our history, America's Armed Forces have stood proudly in defense of the United States and of freedom everywhere. Countless courageous service men and women have given their lives for our Nation, and many others have sacrificed their own freedom as prisoners of war so that the cause of liberty might prevail.
Enduring with patience and determination, prisoners of war are a powerful reminder that the indomitable spirit of the American soldier cannot be broken, even by brutal treatment in violation of international law and morality. In Nazi Germany, Japan, North Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq, prisoners of war repeatedly demonstrated their devotion to duty, honor, and country, despite the often terrible suffering inflicted upon them by their captors.
On this day and throughout the year, let us honor all who have borne the indignities of captivity in service to our country, remember the brave soldiers who died as prisoners in foreign lands during our Nation's past struggles, and recognize those at home who anxiously awaited their loved ones' return. Their faith in God, love of family, and trust in our Nation are an inspiration to all Americans, and we will always remember their sacrifices.
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 April 9, 1996, as National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day. I ask all Americans to join me in honoring former American prisoners of war who suffered at the hands of our enemies, and I call upon Federal, State, and local officials and private organizations to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies, programs, and activities.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this fifth day of April, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twentieth.
William J. Clinton
[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 12:26 p.m., April 8, 1996]