Proclamations, December 14, 1983

Proclamation 5137 -- American Heart Month, 1984

December 14, 1983

By the President of the United States

of America

A Proclamation

Diseases of the heart and blood vessels are among the Nation's most important health problems. This year one and one-half million Americans will suffer a heart attack, and nearly one million people will die from diseases of the heart. The economic drain on our resources in the form of direct medical costs and lost wages and production will exceed $60 billion.

Since 1948, the United States Public Health Service and a private voluntary organization, the American Heart Association, have joined in a concerted effort to combat cardiovascular diseases. These organizations have channeled their efforts and resources to reduce heart disease through such measures as prevention, diagnosis, and treatment; training of new research workers and clinicians; support for community service programs; and public education.

It is gratifying to note that mortality rates for heart disease and stroke are declining. Deaths from coronary heart disease have declined by more than 25 percent since 1972, while those from stroke have decreased by more than 40 percent. In large part, this favorable trend is the result of more Americans being aware of the personal risk factors for heart disease and adopting healthier life styles by changing their habits in such critical areas as smoking, cholesterol intake, exercise, and in controlling high blood pressure.

At the same time, science and medicine have made great strides in the past few years in technology to diagnose and treat diseases of the heart and blood vessels. The dedicated scientists and clinicians who labor to uncover the hidden causes of heart disease also deserve recognition. Lifesaving technology now in the hands of physicians has brought about more certain diagnoses of these diseases as well as the means to treat heart conditions that in the near past were considered beyond effective treatment.

Recognizing the need for all Americans to help in the continuing battle against cardiovascular disease, the Congress, by joint resolution approved December 30, 1963 (77 Stat. 843; 36 U.S.C. 169b), has requested the President to issue annually a proclamation designating February as American Heart Month.

Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the month of February, 1984, as American Heart Month. I invite the Governors of the States, the appropriate officials of all other areas subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and the American people to join with me in reaffirming our commitment to the search for new ways to prevent, detect, and control cardiovascular disease in all of its forms.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this 14th day of Dec., in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eighth.

Ronald Reagan

[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 9:59 a.m., December 15, 1983]

Proclamation 5138 -- National Day of Prayer, 1984

December 14, 1983

By the President of the United States

of America

A Proclamation

In 1787, a then-elderly Benjamin Franklin said to George Washington as he presided over the Constitutional Convention, ``I have lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?''

With these words, Mr. Franklin called upon the Convention to open each day with prayer, and from the birth of our Republic, prayer has been vital to the whole fabric of American life.

As we crossed and settled a continent, built a Nation in freedom, and endured war and critical struggles to become the leader of the Free World and a sentinel of liberty, we repeatedly turned to our Maker for strength and guidance in achieving the awesome tasks before us.

From the poignancy of General Washington's legendary prayer in the snow at Valley Forge to the dangerous times in which we live today, our leaders and the people of this Nation have called upon Divine Providence and trusted in God's wisdom to guide us through the challenges we have faced as a people and a Nation.

Whether at the landing of our forebears in New England and Virginia, the ordeal of the Revolutionary War, the stormy days of binding the thirteen colonies into one country, the Civil War, or other moments of trial over the years, we have turned to God for His help. As we are told in II Chronicles 7:14: ``If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.''

By Joint Resolution of the Congress approved April 17, 1952, the recognition of a particular day set aside each year as a National Day of Prayer has become part of our unification as a great Nation. This is a day on which the people of the United States are invited to turn to God in prayer and meditation in places of worship, in groups, and as individuals. Since 1952, each President has proclaimed annually a National Day of Prayer, resuming the tradition started by the Continental Congress.

Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Thursday, May 3, 1984, as National Day of Prayer. I call upon the citizens of this great Nation to gather together on that day in homes and places of worship to pray, each after his or her own manner, for unity of the hearts of all mankind.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this 14th day of Dec., in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eighth.

Ronald Reagan

[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 10 a.m., December 15, 1983]