July 20, 1987 By the President of the United States
For more than three and one-half centuries, Czechs and Czech Americans, through talent, industriousness, and energy, have been compiling a proud record of achievement in our country. All Americans are glad to join our fellow citizens of Czech descent in celebrating this precious and living heritage, as well as the extensive ties between our peoples here and in Europe.
Czechs have long sought liberty and opportunity in the United States, and they have distinguished themselves here in every field of endeavor -- in science, religion, literature, the professions, business, labor, and the armed forces, the arts, government, sports, and countless other fields. Among the first North Americans ever canonized was a Czech American, St. John Nepomucene Neumann, a missionary and later a bishop of Philadelphia in the 19th century. In that century hundreds of thousands of Czechs came to America, seeking freedom and economic opportunity. In this century as well, Czechs have sought freedom in this country from Nazi and Soviet oppression -- most recently from the brutal Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.
Connections of Czechs and America flow in both directions. The United States is inextricably linked to the founding of Czechoslovakia. President Woodrow Wilson strongly advocated independence for Czechs and others. The Czechoslovak Declaration of Independence was drafted in Washington, D.C., and the Constitution of the first Czechoslovak Republic was modelled on the United States Constitution, whose bicentennial we observed this year. The great statesman Thomas Masaryk, who married an American, cited the profound influence of the writings of Thomas Jefferson and other American democrats on his own philosophy.
To recognize the contributions of Czech Americans to our country and to encourage the American people to learn more about this legacy, the Congress, by Public Law 100 - 69, has designated the period beginning July 27, 1987, and ending on August 2, 1987, as ``National Czech American Heritage Week'' and has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in its observance.
Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the period beginning July 27, 1987, and ending August 2, 1987, as National Czech American Heritage Week. I call upon all Americans to observe this week with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of July, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twelfth.
[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 4:18 p.m., July 20, 1987]