Remarks on Signing the National Family Week Proclamation

November 12, 1982

Thank you very much, and good morning. Today I'm signing the National Family Week proclamation. This proclamation mandates that the new Congress and I will be one big happy family. [Laughter] I hope there's a place on that for Tip to sign. [Laughter]

No, the real purpose of National Family Week, which runs from November 21st to November 27th, 1982, is to recognize the central importance of the family in American life and to honor the most fundamental unit of our society, the unit that gives us a sense of belonging in life.

As President I've often talked of the need to reaffirm the faith and the principles that made America great, and the family is basic to our nation's inner spirit. The family is our school of conscience, of service, of democracy, of love, of all things that we as a people esteem and treasure. Our basic values determine how well our Republic holds together, whether it transmits to new generations sources of its inspiration and strength.

Someone once said there are only two lasting bequests that we can hope to give our children. One of them is roots, and the other is wings. Well, the family can help to provide to both -- the security of roots, the inspiration of wings. And this administration has tried hard to encourage both.

Our goals are plain. Where families are threatened, we seek to lessen those threats. Where families lack opportunities, we seek to provide them. And as Thanksgiving nears and we count our blessings, the family should be held chief among them.

And speaking of blessings, Nancy is here. She's just accepted the honorary chairmanship of the first annual Great American Family Awards program, which will honor families across the Nation who are involved in their communities.

And now, before I talk on too long and National Family Week has come and gone, I think I'll sit down and sign the proclamation.

Note: The President spoke at 10:49 a.m. at the signing ceremony in the State Dining Room at the White House.