May 3, 1988
By the President of the United States of America
Once again we celebrate Father's Day, by tradition the third Sunday in June, a day to honor and salute fathers everywhere for their love and devotion.
As a weary child tumbles into his father's arms, to be lifted up and carried, he feels his father's strength and is content. In that perch he is like a captain, confidently scanning the horizons of his world, secure in the knowledge that his ship will carry him safely through any threatening seas. Children, vulnerable and dependent, desperately need such security, and it has ever been a duty and a joy of fatherhood to offer it.
Being a father requires strength in many ways; above all, it requires character. Raising a family is no easy task, of course, but one of trial, frustration, and disappointment. Great strength and more than a little courage are needed to persevere, to fight discouragement, and to keep working for the family. In that strength, and with God's grace, fathers find the patience to teach, the fortitude to provide, the compassion to comfort, and the mercy to forgive. All of this is to say that they find the strength to love their wives and children selflessly. And it is above all for this wondrous, mysterious love that fathers shower upon their families, and that allows them to ceaselessly put their families' needs first, that we honor fathers with their own special day.
Our gratitude is not limited to Father's Day, but remains constant; indeed, there are not enough days in the year to express it properly. Still, it is fitting that on such a day the American people pause to celebrate all fathers for their loving care for their youngsters. Our Nation can only continue to prosper if our families prosper. Nothing can replace the family's role as prime nurturer and educator of children, and nowhere are our country's shared values more effectively transmitted to future generations.
So let us thank all fathers on this day; but, above all, let us each take this occasion to express our thanks and our affection to our own fathers, whether we can do so in person or in prayer. We are perhaps no longer little children riding on our fathers' shoulders, yet we will forever feel their firm and loving guidance through life's challenges.
Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, in accordance with a joint resolution of the Congress approved April 24, 1972 (36 U.S.C. 142a), do hereby proclaim Sunday, June 19, 1988, as Father's Day. I invite the States and communities and people of the United States to observe that day with appropriate ceremonies as a mark of appreciation and abiding affection for their fathers. I direct government officials to display the flag of the United States on all Federal government buildings, and I urge all Americans to display the flag at their homes and other suitable places on that day.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this third day of May, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twelfth.
[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 2:54 p.m., May 4, 1988]