Proclamation 5799 -- Law Day, U.S.A., 1988


April 20, 1988


By the President of the United States of America


A Proclamation


For more than three decades our country has observed May 1 as Law Day, U.S.A., in grateful recognition that our free Republic is a government of laws, not men. On Law Day, U.S.A., we join in proud commemoration of America's legacy of liberty, justice, and self-government, and we pause to salute those past and present who have served and sacrificed to win and protect our freedom and to preserve law and tranquility in our communities -- including the men and women of law enforcement whose daily courage and dedication make our laws and liberties a living reality.


Because ours is a government by consent of the people, we are our own lawgivers; hence, the virtuousness of our laws depends on our individual and civic virtues. That is truly something to remember on any Law Day, U.S.A., but especially in a national election year, when we recall how important it is that each of us be familiar with our rights and liberties and with the legal and political guarantees of our freedoms. Only through knowledge, awareness, and love of country can we take full part in the self-government that is ours as Americans to perpetuate.


This is why all Americans of legal voting age should make up their minds, this year and each year, to vote in every election for which they are eligible and to observe all election laws faithfully. By voting, we have our say in who our representatives are and thereby in the shaping of laws that affect us, our communities, our States, and our Nation. We should always remember that those who vote not only demonstrate their voice in public affairs but also exercise one of the precious rights for which brave people around the globe today fight and die just as did our ancestors. Let us understand that our voting is a way to keep faith with them, with our fellow citizens, with the brave Americans who defend us at home and abroad, and with all who cherish our American heritage of liberty, justice, and equality before the law.


Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, in accordance with Public Law 87 - 20 of April 7, 1961, do hereby proclaim Sunday, May 1, 1988, as Law Day, U.S.A. I urge the people of the United States to use this occasion to reflect on our birthright of freedom, to express gratitude to those who protect our country and our communities, to familiarize themselves with the need to vote, and to encourage and assist others to vote. I ask the legal profession, schools, public bodies, libraries, courts, the communications media, businesses, the clergy, civic, service, and fraternal organizations, and all interested individuals and organizations to join in efforts to focus attention on voting. I also call upon all public officials to display the flag of the United States on all government buildings on Law Day, U.S.A.


In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this 20th day of April, 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, 4:40 p.m., April 20, 1988]