September 23, 1988
By the President of the United States of America
Three hundred and five years ago, 13 families from the city of Krefeld on the Rhine River landed near Philadelphia. In the 3 centuries since then, more than seven million other Germans have followed them to America in search of freedom and a more prosperous future for themselves and their children. Today nearly one in every four of us can trace our ancestry to German forebears. These facts, and our recognition of everything that Americans of German descent have achieved for our Nation, give all of us ample cause to celebrate on German-American Day, 1988.
Our national character and way of life have been deeply influenced by Americans of German heritage. They have made an indelible imprint on the life, culture, progress, and prosperity of the United States in areas such as the arts, scholarship, religion, commerce and industry, science and engineering, government, sports, and entertainment. This is why Benjamin Franklin observed long years ago, "America cultivates best what Germany brought forth. . . .''
Today, German-American bonds of international friendship are stronger than ever. As partners in the NATO Alliance, the United States and the Federal Republic of Germany work side by side to maintain peace and freedom. Allied unity and resolve made possible the successful conclusion of the U.S.-U.S.S.R. INF Treaty. As two of the world's great trading nations, the United States and the Federal Republic of Germany share a common, deep-seated commitment to an open and expanding world economy. The personal ties between our nations now extend beyond immigration to include lively foreign exchange programs, booming tourism in both directions, and the presence in the Federal Republic of Germany of American military personnel and their dependents. Our mutual resolve in the common defense of Western liberty is exemplified by the great city of Berlin and its brave residents.
Chancellor Kohl's visit to Washington earlier this year visibly reaffirmed the priority our governments have long assigned to preserving and fostering German-American relations. Common traditions, shared convictions, and mutual interests commit us to strengthening cooperation at every level to meet the challenges of the future. The recently completed German-American Friendship Garden, which will be dedicated on the Mall in our Nation's Capital this autumn, symbolizes the close and friendly relations between the Federal Republic of Germany and the United States. It also reminds us of the need to cultivate our special ties so they might further prosper.
The Congress, by Public Law 100 - 392, has designated October 6, 1988, as "German-American Day'' and authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of that day.
Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim October 6, 1988, as German-American Day. I urge all Americans to learn more about the contributions of German immigrants to the life and culture of the United States and to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-third day of September, 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 thirteenth.
[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 11:05 a.m., September 26, 1988]
Note: The proclamation was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on September 24.