Proclamation by the President: Leif Erikson Day, 2000 (10/6/00)
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

______________________________________________________________
For Immediate Release                             October 6, 2000


                          LEIF ERIKSON DAY, 2000

                               - - - - - - -

             BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

                              A PROCLAMATION


     This year, as we mark the beginning of a new millennium, we also
celebrate the 1000th anniversary of Europe's first contact with North
America.  At the turn of the last millennium, the legendary explorer Leif
Erikson -- son of Iceland, grandson of Norway -- sailed across the cold
waters of the Atlantic from his home in Greenland to the eastern coast of
North America, completing the first documented voyage of Europeans to the
New World.

     In the ensuing centuries, millions of other men and women followed the
lead of these brave Vikings -- some seeking riches, some seeking adventure,
all in search of a new and better life.  Families from Denmark, Finland,
Iceland, Sweden, and Norway would make their new homes in communities like
New Sweden, Delaware; Oslo, Minnesota; and Denmark, Iowa, bringing with
them a reverence for freedom and a deep love of democracy that stemmed from
their own egalitarian traditions.  More than 10 million Americans today can
trace their roots to the Nordic countries, and their family ties,
traditions, and values have strengthened the warm friendship our Nation has
always enjoyed with the people of Scandinavia.

     In celebration of this friendship and our shared pride in Leif
Erikson's exploits, Americans have joined with the Nordic countries to
commemorate this special anniversary.  The Smithsonian Institution
sponsored a traveling exhibit earlier this year to highlight the Viking
explorations of North America; the Library of Congress hosted an
international symposium on the ancient texts of the Icelandic Sagas, many
of which were displayed in the United States for the first time; and we
joined Iceland in creating our first jointly issued coin to commemorate
Leif Erikson's historic voyage.

     These cultural initiatives reflect the strong ties and long history
between the United States and the Nordic countries, and we continue to
cooperate on many mutual goals.  The Nordic countries are our full partners
in the Northern Europe Initiative (NEI), which we launched in 1997 to build
on the dramatic progress toward a free Europe that occurred following the
break-up of the Soviet Union.  Through the NEI, we are working together to
promote democracy, stability, and prosperity in the Baltic nations and
northwest Russia, to facilitate their fuller integration into Western
institutions, and to cooperate on such cross-border issues as energy,
health, law enforcement, and the environment.  In addition, many of the
best and brightest entrepreneurs in America and the Nordic countries are
collaborating to encourage trade and the spread of innovative ideas and
technologies around the world.
Americans and Nordics alike value courage, independence, energy, and
resourcefulness; working together in this new millennium, we are charting a
new course for our people just as exciting and full of promise as the one
Leif Erikson traveled a thousand years ago.

     In honor of Leif Erikson and of our Nordic American heritage, the
Congress, by joint resolution (Public Law 88-566) approved on September 2,
1964, has authorized and requested the President to proclaim October 9 of
each year as "Leif Erikson Day."

     NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States
of America, do hereby proclaim Monday, October 9, 2000, as Leif Erikson
Day.  I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate
ceremonies, activities, and programs to honor our rich Nordic American
heritage.

     IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this          sixth
day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand, and of the
Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and
twenty-fifth.




                                   WILLIAM J. CLINTON




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