May 16, 1988

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

Two hundred and eleven years have now gone by since that June day in 1777 when the Continental Congress adopted a flag for the United States of America, then a brand-new Nation fighting for its independence and for the novel notion that individual liberty was everyone's God-given birthright. The banner adopted then, the beautiful Stars and Stripes, was soon raised by a rebel hand for all the world to see. Our task and our glory as Americans is to keep the flag flying high, because freedom waves in its broad stripes and bright stars.

The preservation of freedom is ours to fulfill for our children and for the hope of mankind, just as our forebears fulfilled it for us in years of peace or peril. We will succeed as our countrymen did before us, but only if we make their spirit our own; we must always revere, just as deeply as did they, the Red, White, and Blue -- our battle-scarred flag. The heroism, service, and sacrifice of those who have followed Old Glory on many a hard-fought field and at many a guardpost of peace make this our solemn trust. We will keep faith with them and with generations yet unborn just as long as we can sing of flag and freedom as wholeheartedly as did Francis Scott Key in the last stanza of our National Anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner'':

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand Between their loved home and the war's desolation!

Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.

Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, And this be our motto: "In God is our trust.''

And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

To commemorate the adoption of our flag, the Congress, by joint resolution approved August 3, 1949 (63 Stat. 492), designated June 14 of each year as Flag Day and requested the President to issue an annual proclamation calling for its observance and for the display of the flag of the United States on all government buildings. The Congress also requested the President, by joint resolution approved June 9, 1966 (80 Stat. 194), to issue annually a proclamation designating the week in which June 14 occurs as National Flag Week and calling upon all citizens of the United States to display the flag during that week.

Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate June 14, 1988, as Flag Day and the week beginning June 12 as National Flag Week, and I direct the appropriate officials of the government to display the flag of the United States on all government buildings during that week. I urge all Americans to observe Flag Day, June 14, and Flag Week by flying the Stars and Stripes from their homes and other suitable places.

I also urge the American people to celebrate those days from Flag Day through Independence Day, set aside by the Congress as a time to honor America (89 Stat. 211), by having public gatherings and activities in which they can honor their country in an appropriate manner, especially by ceremonies in which all renew their dedication by publicly reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this sixteenth 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.

Ronald Reagan

[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 10:18 a.m., May 17, 1988]