Statement on Signing a Bill Designating Alaska Statehood Day

June 22, 1983

I'm delighted today to take the first step toward what will be for all Americans a proud and joyous moment: the celebration of the 25th anniversary of Alaska's statehood. Alaska was admitted to the Union on January 3, 1959; then, as now, Alaska was a treasure house of natural resources and a State of undisturbed vistas and incomparable beauty.

In many ways, the story of Alaska and her people is America's story, the struggle of courageous men and women with a wild and bounteous frontier. Today the State of Alaska reminds us of this rich heritage and our own continuing efforts toward developing a nation while seeking to preserve its irreplaceable beauty and resources.

The resolution which I am signing speaks of Alaska's material wealth. It notes that Alaska provides one-eighth of the Nation's gold, one-fifth of its oil production, and two-fifths of its harvested fish. Alaska possesses 10 of the 16 vital materials needed for the Nation's security, and all of this has resulted in the National Treasury collecting $3 for every $1 of Federal money that is spent in this rich and vital State.

As the resolution notes, the United States has reaped economic rewards from Alaska many times greater than its original $7 million investment. But Alaska's contribution to our nation goes far beyond this. All Americans benefit from the commitment and courage, the vitality and frontier spirit of the people of Alaska. Alaskans and Alaska remain an inspiration to all Americans and a reminder of the richness, diversity, and beauty of America's heritage.

Today, with the sponsors of this resolution, Senators Stevens and Murkowski and Congressman Young, I call on all Americans and all levels of government to join with me in celebrating Alaska Statehood Day with appropriate ceremonies and recognition.

Note: The President signed the bill in a cermony in the Oval Office at the White House.

As enacted, S.J. Res. 42 is Public Law 98 - 42, approved June 22.