Proclamation 6016 – Uncle Sam Day, 1989
By the President of the United States of America
The tall, white-haired figure of Uncle Sam — his stern, sagacious face graced by a flowing beard, and his distinguished top hat adorned by stars and stripes — is a beloved symbol of the United States. Recognized around the world, the striking visage of Uncle Sam recalls the pride and strength of the American people, as well as the freedom we enjoy.
One of the most familiar renditions of Uncle Sam is found on the James Montgomery Flagg recruitment poster used during World War I and World War II. With its now-famous headline, “Uncle Sam Wants You,” this poster urged men and women to help defend our way of life by enlisting in the Armed Forces. Today, the figure of Uncle Sam continues to remind us of the great risks and personal sacrifices endured by generations of Americans in the quest for liberty.
In 1961, the Congress recognized Samuel Wilson of Troy, New York, as the progenitor of this celebrated American symbol. Hardworking and self-reliant, Samuel Wilson was a man of unwavering integrity. He was also an important source of food for the Army during the War of 1812. The marking “U.S.” stamped on casks of meat that his packinghouse prepared for American troops represented “Uncle Sam” to many soldiers and eventually the name was associated with the U.S. Government itself.
During Samuel Wilson’s lifetime, which spanned the exciting years of 1766 to 1854, Americans won our country’s independence; formed a system of self-government under our great Constitution; explored and settled the frontier; and raised the hopes of freedom-loving peoples around the world. Because the character derived from his nickname embodies the proud and industrious spirit of the American people, it is fitting that we pause to remember “Uncle Sam” Wilson and his place in our Nation’s history.
To honor Samuel Wilson on the anniversary of his birth and the occasion of the bicentennial of the City of Troy, New York, the Congress, by Public Law 100-645, has designated September 13, 1989, as “Uncle Sam Day” and has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this event.
Now, Therefore, I, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim September 13, 1989, as Uncle Sam Day and call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this fifth day of September, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fourteenth.