Page:United States Statutes at Large Volume 104 Part 6.djvu/913

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PROCLAMATION 6145—JUNE 14, 1990 104 STAT. 5303 of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fourteenth. GEORGE BUSH Proclamation 6145 of June 14, 1990 Flag Day and National Flag Week, 1990 By the President of the United States of America A Proclamation Of all the images and symbols that have come to represent the United States, from the towering figure of Uncle Sam to the beautiful yet fearsome bald eagle, the flag occupies a unique place in our hearts and in our history. It is our Nation's greatest emblem, the standard carried into battle by generations of brave and selfless Americans. As a tangible reminder of their great sacrifices, and as a symbol of the freedom with which we have been blessed, it is a banner we raise with a duly profound sense of pride and reverence. The flag officially took shape on June 14, 1777, when the delegates to the Continental Congress resolved "that the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the Union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation." However, the Stars and Stripes had acquired meaning months earlier, when our Founding Fathers boldly affirmed the rights of individuals and declared America's independence from Great Britain. The "new constellation" of which the Continental Congress spoke was our young Nation, a nation where "freedom's holy light" would gleam forth, giving hope to all those living in the darkness of tyranny and serving as a guide to all those charting their own course toward liberty and self- government. Today, in quiet glory, the Stars and Stripes continue to proclaim the shining promise of America. For millions of people around the world, the flag has bid welcome, marking a place of refuge from religious and political persecution. For millions of others, it has represented the liberty to which all men are heirs. When we look to the Red, White, and Blue, we cannot fail to take pride in the respect accorded to our flag around the world. Our Nation's flag emerged from the triumphant struggle to represent the idea "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." One individual who recognized the importance of that struggle to all mankind was the Marquis de Lafay- ette. This courageous Frenchman understood that, because liberty is the God-given right of all men, the cause of freedom is universal. He eagerly joined in the American Revolution and, on July 31, 1777, was appointed a Major General by the Continental Congress. Time and again throughout the Revolutionary War, Lafayette proved his bravery and his love of freedom. Shortly after the war's conclusion, he described its significance with these joyous words: "America is assured