Proclamation 4873 -- Columbus Day, 1981

October 9, 1981

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

Christopher Columbus, whose life and exploits we commemorate each October, is one of the true heroes of our Nation's history.

He is justly admired as a brilliant navigator, a fearless man of action, a visionary who opened the eyes of an older world to an entirely new one. Above all, he personifies a view of the world that many see as quintessentially American: not merely optimistic, but scornful of the very notion of despair.

Nearly five centuries have passed since the fateful day on which Columbus changed the course of history. But his adventurous spirit lives on among us, challenging us to emulation and abiding with us as we too press forward on our voyage of discovery.

In tribute to the achievement of Columbus and to the many sons and daughters of Italy who have helped to shape our life and destiny as a people, the Congress of the United States of America has requested the President to proclaim the second Monday in October of each year as Columbus Day.

Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate Monday, October 12, 1981, as Columbus Day; and I invite the people of this Nation to observe that day in schools, churches, and other suitable places with appropriate ceremonies in his honor.

I also direct that the flag of the United States of America be displayed on all public buildings on the appointed day in memory of Christopher Columbus.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this ninth day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and sixth.

Ronald Reagan

[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 3:27 p.m., October 9, 1981]