Proclamation 5547 -- Leif Erikson Day, 1986

 

October 9, 1986

 

By the President of the United States of America

 

A Proclamation

 

Millions of people in the United States trace their origins to the Nordic countries. Their ancestors came here in search of new land, new opportunity, and the ability to work and prosper in this land of freedom and justice. Courage and an adventurous spirit brought them here; strength and determination have brought success to a great many. Those characteristics well describe Leif Erikson, the first Nordic we know to have visited North America.

 

Leif Erikson was sent by King Olav in the year 1000 to convert the Nordic settlers of southern Greenland to Christianity; he also sailed much farther west and came upon a new land. ``Leif the Lucky,'' as he was known, described North America for his countrymen, and kindled the enthusiasm that brought other European explorers, missionaries, settlers, and adventurers to North America in the years to follow. Today, the cultures of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden are intertwined with the American culture and are an important part of our national heritage. The Nordic people have added their traditions of courage and adventure to our national characteristics, giving us pride in the knowledge that the spirit of Leif Erikson still lives among all Americans.

 

In honor of Leif Erikson and the heritage of America's Nordic people, the Congress, by a joint resolution approved on September 2, 1964 (78 Stat. 849, 36 U.S.C. 169c), has authorized the President to proclaim October 9 of each year as ``Leif Erikson Day.''

 

Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate October 9, 1986, as Leif Erikson Day, and I direct the appropriate government officials to display the flag of the United States on all government buildings on that day. I also invite the people of the United States to honor Leif Erikson and our Nordic-American heritage by holding appropriate exercises and ceremonies in suitable places throughout the land.

 

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this ninth day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eleventh.

 

Ronald Reagan

 

[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 2:13 p.m., October 9, 1986]