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Observing Memorial Day, 2023: President Reagan’s Proclamation from 40 years ago

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All of us at AgingOptions salute the men and women of our armed forces who have sacrificed their lives to preserve American freedom. To honor those fallen heroes, along with the millions more who have served and continue to serve, we offer President Ronald Reagan’s Memorial Day Proclamation originally presented 40 years ago for Memorial Day, May 30, 1983.

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

Each year, for more than 100 years, we have gathered on Memorial Day to pay tribute to those men and women who have fallen in battle, sacrificing their lives to preserve our freedom and world peace. In doing this, we are reminded that neither peace nor liberty is guaranteed, and that our national ideals remain threatened by global conflict, economic crises, violence, and aggression.

Throughout our history, America has been a symbol of hope for all people. We must always accept the many responsibilities that this requires. Thus, we are prepared to assist other nations in their struggle for economic progress; to help those in other lands who suffer from political repression and injustice; to deter aggression by strengthening democracy around the globe; and to work tirelessly toward a world without war.

Those who have sacrificed their lives for our country serve as a reminder that our work is unfinished. With vision and purpose and a prayer in our hearts, let us dedicate ourselves to their memory.

In recognition of those Americans to whom we pay tribute today, the Congress, by joint resolution of May 11, 1950 (64 Stat. 158), has requested the President to issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to observe each Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace and designating a period on that day when the people of the United States might unite in prayer.

Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate Memorial Day, Monday, May 30, 1983, as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and I designate the hour beginning in each locality at 11 o’clock in the morning of that day as a time to unite in prayer. I urge the press, radio, television, and all other information media to cooperate in this observance.

I also request the Governors of the United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the appropriate officials of all local units of government to direct that the flag be flown at half-staff during this Memorial Day on all buildings, grounds, and naval vessels throughout the United States and in all areas under its jurisdiction and control, and I request the people of the United States to display the flag at half-staff from their homes for the customary forenoon period.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this 4th day of April, 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 seventh.

Ronald Reagan

(originally posted at

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