Veterans Day, 1996
By the President of the United States of America
This Veterans Day, Americans enjoy the fruits of peace,
freedom, and prosperity in a world where too many must still
struggle to live their lives free from conflict, violence, and
As leaders in the fight for liberty, we have sought to
advance the cause of freedom and democracy to people all over
the world. The credit for our own freedom, as well as our
continued security, belongs overwhelmingly to the men and women
who have served in our Nation's Armed Forces -- our veterans.
Had they not been there yesterday, were they not with us today,
our world would be far different.
Today we salute their service, honor their sacrifice,
thank them for supporting this Nation in every hour of need.
And we acknowledge that freedom's cost continues long after the
guns fall silent. Many of our veterans bear the disabilities
and scars of military service. The families of others -- who
never returned from their service -- live always with a profound
sense of loss. It is our duty to remember what our veterans
have done and to uphold our commitments to them and their
As we mark the past achievements of our veterans, let us
remember that they are a vital part of our present and future.
Of the 40 million who have served in America's military since
the Revolutionary War, 26.5 million are with us today -- not
distant historical footnotes, but as close as a father or
mother, brother or sister, grandfather or grandmother, friend
Their tradition of service extends beyond the battlefield
and the barracks. Most veterans in civilian life continue
devoting their energies to the service of their country and
communities. They are civic-minded role models who challenge
and inspire our young people. They are volunteers who work for
neighbors in need. They represent what is best in the American
That is why we must help them make the transition from
military to civilian careers and empower them with the
opportunities to use their training, discipline, and motivation
in good and rewarding jobs. We owe them as well a guarantee
that we will continue to defend the American ideals for which
they have served and sacrificed. As the strongest force for
peace and freedom in the world, we recognize our responsibility
to maintain a military capability second to none.
In respect and recognition of the contributions our service
men and women have made in defense of America and to advance the
cause of peace, the Congress has provided (5 U.S.C. 6103(a))
that November 11 of each year shall be set aside as a legal
public holiday to recognize America's veterans.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of
the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Monday,
November 11, 1996, as Veterans Day. I urge all Americans
to recognize the valor and sacrifice of our veterans through
appropriate public ceremonies and private prayers. I call
upon Federal, State, and local officials to display the flag
of the United States and to encourage and participate in
patriotic activities in their communities.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
thirty-first day of October, 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 twenty-first.
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