January 18, 1989

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

On this third anniversary of the Space Shuttle Challenger's tragic accident, the lines of Tennyson in his poem 'Ulysses' seem most appropriate:

Come, my friends,

'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.

It may be that the gulf will wash us down;

It may be that we touch the Happy Isles,

And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.

Tho' much is taken, much abides; . . .

Indeed, much was taken when we lost Challenger's brave crew. Yet much abides, because the American people will forever remember them and salute the devotion to excellence that characterized them and continues to characterize the members of the U.S. space program. That spirit has manifested itself again and again as we have journeyed to the moon and probed planets, our solar system, and beyond. It thrives today as we seek a permanent base in space and further manned exploration.

The Challenger crew made the supreme sacrifice on their quest to extend man's horizons. As we resolve to go forward in space, let us always take with us the spirit of vision, skill, and excellence.

That spirit was evident on September 29, 1988, when the Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from the launch pad. There could be no more fitting testimony to the Challenger crew and the excellence they personified than this mission, which returned our Nation to manned space flight. May our boundless dreams continue to inspire us in the pursuit of excellence -- in space and in every endeavor.

The Congress, by Public Law 100 - 681, has designated January 28, 1989, as ``National Day of Excellence'' 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 January 28, 1989, as National Day of Excellence. I call upon the people of the United States to observe that day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this eighteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirteenth.

Ronald Reagan

[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 11:06 a.m., January 19, 1989]