[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 73 (Friday, April 15, 2011)]
[Presidential Documents]
[Pages 21223-21224]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-9368]

                        Presidential Documents 

Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 73 / Friday, April 15, 2011 / 
Presidential Documents

[[Page 21223]]

                Proclamation 8654 of April 12, 2011

Civil War Sesquicentennial

                By the President of the United States of America

                A Proclamation

                On April 12, 1861, artillery guns boomed across 
                Charleston Harbor in an attack on Fort Sumter. These 
                were the first shots of a civil war that would stretch 
                across 4 years of tremendous sacrifice, with over 3 
                million Americans serving in battles whose names reach 
                across our history. The meaning of freedom and the very 
                soul of our Nation were contested in the hills of 
                Gettysburg and the roads of Antietam, the fields of 
                Manassas and the woods of the Wilderness. When the 
                terrible and costly struggle was over, a new meaning 
                was conferred on our country's name--the United States 
                of America. We might be tested, but whatever our fate 
                might be, it would be as one Nation.

                The Civil War was a conflict characterized by legendary 
                acts of bravery in the face of unprecedented carnage. 
                Those who lived in these times--from the resolute 
                African American soldier volunteering his life for the 
                liberation of his fellow man to the determined 
                President secure in the rightness of his cause--brought 
                a new birth of freedom to a country still mending its 

                On this milestone in American history, we remember the 
                great cost of the unity and liberty we now enjoy, 
                causes for which so many have laid down their lives. 
                Though America would struggle to extend equal rights to 
                all our citizens and carry out the letter of our laws 
                after the war, the sacrifices of soldiers, sailors, 
                Marines, abolitionists, and countless other Americans 
                would bring a renewed significance to the liberties 
                established by our Founders. When the guns fell silent 
                and the fate of our Nation was secured, blue and gray 
                would unite under one flag and the institution of 
                slavery would be forever abolished from our land.

                As a result of the sacrifice of millions, we would 
                extend the promise and freedom enshrined in our 
                Constitution to all Americans. Through the 13th, 14th, 
                and 15th Amendments, we would prohibit slavery and 
                indentured servitude, establish equal protection under 
                the law, and extend the right to vote to former slaves. 
                We would reach for a more perfect Union together as 
                Americans, bound by the collective threads of history 
                and our common hopes for the future.

                We are the United States of America--we have been 
                tested, we have repaired our Union, and we have emerged 
                stronger. As we respond to the critical challenges of 
                our time, let us do so as adherents to the enduring 
                values of our founding and stakeholders in the promise 
                of a shared tomorrow.

                NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the 
                United States of America, by virtue of the authority 
                vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the 
                United States, do hereby proclaim April 12, 2011, as 
                the first day of the Civil War Sesquicentennial. I call 
                upon all Americans to observe this Sesquicentennial 
                with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities 
                that honor the legacy of freedom and unity that the 
                Civil War bestowed upon our Nation.

[[Page 21224]]

                 IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this 
                twelfth day of April, in the year of our Lord two 
                thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United 
                States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.
                    (Presidential Sig.)

[FR Doc. 2011-9368
Filed 4-14-11; 8:45 am]
Billing code 3195-W1-P