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Public Papers - 1991 - December

Remarks on Signing the Year of Thanksgiving for the Blessings of Liberty. Proclamation in Orange County, Virginia


Thank you all very, very much. And it is a pleasure to be with you on this beautiful Virginia day. Let me first thank Mr. Robert Bass and Mr. Jack Walter of the National Trust for Historic Preservation for hosting this event. And we are fortunate to have the Secretary of the Interior with us, Manuel Lujan. I understand Virginia's two great Senators are here: John Warner, Chuck Robb; Congressman George Allen, and other members of Congress. I am delighted to be with you on this special day.

It's an honor to be here with the people of Orange County, for this is the community that nurtured the father of our Constitution, James Madison. Citizens of this county launched Madison's political career, sending him to the Virginia House of Delegates when he was just 25 years old. In 1789, Orange County, almost by itself, provided Madison's margin of victory in gaining a seat in the First Congress of the United States.

Here is the home where Madison developed and sustained his deep love of liberty, of religious freedom, economic freedom, intellectual freedom. Here at Montpelier, Madison immersed himself in the historical and philosophic study that shaped our Constitution. And here, he promised his constituents he would work to enact a Bill of Rights. I am especially pleased to announce that our fiscal year '93 budget will seek million in Federal support for the restoration of Montpelier.

Two hundred years ago this week, the Virginia General Assembly ratified the Bill of Rights. And with this action, three-fourths of the States had approved the Bill of Rights, thus making it a part of our Constitution. Americans have celebrated all of 1991 as the bicentennial year of the Bill of Rights. And thanks to efforts by schools and foundations and corporations, government bodies, active individuals, we've marked the year with many outstanding educational programs, including a national tour exhibiting Virginia's own original copy of the Bill of Rights. Next year, an exhibit on the Bill of Rights, organized by the U.S. Information Agency, will be the centerpiece of the United States Pavilion at the Expo in Seville.

Congress has resolved that we observe the Bill of Rights bicentennial with a Year of Thanksgiving for the Blessings of Liberty. As a gesture of my esteem for James Madison and his home community, I am signing here at Montpelier the Presidential proclamation of this bicentennial celebration.

May God bless all of you, and may He always keep the American people free and dedicated to Madison's ideals of a just society.

Thank you all very much, and now I will sign this proclamation.

Note: The President spoke at 11:48 a.m. In his remarks, he referred to Robert Bass, chairman, and Jack Walter, president, National Trust for Historic Preservation.

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