President Clinton's Proposal
"Our culture lives in every community, and every community has places of historic value that tell our stories as Americans. I ask all Americans to support our project to restore all our treasures so that the generations of the 21st Century can see for themselves the images and the words that are the old and continuing glory of America."
-- President Clinton
President Clinton launched the White House Millennium Council to promote America's creativity and innovation, and to preserve our heritage and culture into the 21st century. In his State of the Union address the President highlighted two national Millennium initiatives: the Millennium Communities Program, and the Save America's Treasures Program.
Millennium Communities Program
The Millennium Communities program is a partnership between the White House Millennium Council and national intergovernmental associations which represent local elected officials and Native American villages and tribal leaders. The partners include the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National League of Cities, the National Association of Counties, the National Association of Towns and Townships, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (a federal office), with support from a national corporate sponsor.
Cities, counties, villages and Native American tribes across the country are encouraged to plan activities around the national theme "Honor the Past -- Imagine the Future." Cities and localities will receive national designation as "Millennium Communities" by pursuing projects that commemorate and preserve their history, reflect on current challenges, and prepare citizens for the 21st century.
The First Lady will formally announce the Millennium Communities Program and release the Millennium Communities Handbook in a speech at the annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors on January 29, 1999.
Elected officials and tribal leaders will submit their applications and plans to commemorate the millennium to their respective associations. These associations, in turn, will review the applications and recommend the official designation. "Millennium Communities" will be:
· Awarded use of the national millennium logo and motto: "Honor the Past -- Imagine the Future," to identify community projects and events as part of the national millennium observance;
· Able to register their projects and events on a special web site designed to allow the communication of ideas and make information accessible to the public and the media;
· Honored by recognition events and designation ceremonies.
The White House Millennium Council was established by President Clinton and the First Lady in August 1997 to use the widespread interest in the millennium as a force for positive change. The Council will use the turn of the calendar as an "action-forcing deadline" to unite citizens behind millennial projects that preserve our historical and cultural legacy, celebrate American achievement, offer youth a positive vision of the future, increase participation in civic life, and encourage international understanding.
Save America's Treasures Program
This partnership to preserve our deteriorating historic sites, art, artifacts, documents and monuments, so that they may inform future generations of the American story. The private sector partner, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, created the Millennium Committee to Save America's Treasures, with Hillary Rodham Clinton as the Honorary Chair. That group has sparked attention and raised contributions which already surpass the federal commitment. Mrs. Clinton has visited over twenty historic sites and collections since last July, bringing recognition and support to the places and objects that embody our heritage and culture. Some of the preservation projects underway are the conservation of the Star-Spangled Banner at the Smithsonian Institution, the re-encasement of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution at the National Archives, and the new exhibition space at the Thomas Edison National Historic Site. The Administration's forthcoming budget will propose additional funding for Save America's Treasures.