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National Archives

Public Papers - 1989

Remarks on Signing the Veterans Day Proclamation


Thank you all for being here. Secretary, come over here; you can't escape. [Laughter] I've got to get my friend here.

Let me just say I'm delighted to welcome all of you here to the Roosevelt Room to witness the signing of this Veterans Day proclamation. I want to especially thank Secretary Derwinski for being with me. I know that Congressman Montgomery had planned to be down here and also Senator Murkowski -- both of them tied up, and we have to forgive them, but I wish they were here.

As you know, our nation's veterans hold a very special place in the hearts of our country for their selfless devotion to duty and commitment to service. And we all know that freedom is not free, and the men and women who have fought to preserve this nation's liberty have indeed been willing to sacrifice everything in that noble cause. So, Veterans Day is a time when all Americans can pay tribute to our veterans for their willingness to give their lives for this great nation and for the cause of freedom.

And I also want to take this opportunity to highlight an issue that is of special concern to veterans around the country, and I'm talking about the protection of the American flag. The flag is a unique symbol, the unique symbol of our nation which must be protected from desecration.

And the Senate today passed a statutory approach. And look, I respect the intention of those who voted for this approach, but I continue to feel that such an approach is inadequate in the light of the Supreme Court decision. And I believe that a constitutional amendment, carefully drawn, is necessary in order to provide proper protection. And I urge the Congress to send to the States for ratification the bipartisan amendment proposed by Congressmen Montgomery and Michel and Senators Dixon and Dole.

And now, with no further ado, I am happy to sign this proclamation.

Note: The President spoke at 3:31 p.m. in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. The proclamation is listed in Appendix E at the end of this volume.

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