Proclamations, January 13, 1986

Proclamation 5427 -- Save Your Vision Week, 1986

January 13, 1986

By the President of the United States

of America

A Proclamation

Of all the blessings that Americans enjoy, few are more important than good vision. It is this priceless gift that enables us to behold the great beauty of our country and take full advantage of the many opportunities it offers. Yet too many of us take the gift of sight for granted, and each year thousands suffer vision loss that could have been prevented. To avoid such tragedy, all of us must be more aware of what each of us can do to protect our eyes and safeguard our eyesight.

The most important sight-saving precaution is to have regular eye checkups. Such examinations can provide valuable warning of incipient eye diseases that could endanger our vision. Early detection is invaluable, because eye research has produced new treatments that can halt many potentially blinding diseases before they have a chance to impair vision.

For people with diabetes, eye examinations offer an especially good chance to benefit from sight-saving discoveries. Research sponsored by the National Eye Institute has shown that laser treatment can help many people who are at risk of visual loss from diabetic eye disease if the condition is detected early. Anyone with diabetes should be made aware of the importance of regular eye care.

Routine eye examinations are important for people who are middle-aged or older, because that is when many eye diseases have their onset. With regular eye care and prompt attention to conditions that need treatment, most Americans can be free of disabling visual impairment in their later years.

Children also need early and regular eye examinations. Even the healthiest-looking child may have some unsuspected visual problem that needs prompt attention. A routine checkup can detect such disorders in time for effective treatment, sparing the child a needless handicap.

Guarding against eye injuries is important for everyone. In the home as well as in the workplace, people should wear a face mask, goggles, or safety glasses when working with chemicals or machinery that might be dangerous to the eyes. People participating in sports should use appropriate protective eyewear. And children should be taught the basic principles of eye safety.

In addition to saving our own vision, we can give the gift of sight to others after our death. By arranging to become eye donors, Americans can help insure that our Nation's eye banks will be able to continue supplying the precious tissue needed for sight-restoring corneal transplant operations.

We should also support the excellent voluntary organizations that seek to prevent blindness and improve the lives of the visually handicapped. Through their programs of eye research, public education, and special services to people with low vision, these groups make an enormous contribution to the public good.

To encourage our citizens to cherish and protect their sight, the Congress, by joint resolution approved December 30, 1963 (77 Stat. 629, 36 U.S.C. 169a), has authorized and requested the President to proclaim the first week in March of each year as ``Save Your Vision Week.''

Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate the week beginning March 2, 1986, as Save Your Vision Week. I urge all Americans to participate in this observance by making eye care and eye safety an important part of their lives. Also, I invite eye care professionals, the communications media, and all public and private organizations committed to the goal of sight conservation to join in activities that will make Americans more aware of the steps they can take to protect their vision.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this thirteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and tenth.

Ronald Reagan

[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 10:51 a.m., January 14, 1986]

Proclamation 5428 -- National Poison Prevention Week, 1986

January 13, 1986

By the President of the United States

of America

A Proclamation

March 16 - 22, 1986, will mark the 25th observance of National Poison Prevention Week. During the past quarter-century, there has been a remarkable reduction in childhood poisonings. In 1961, when Congress passed the law authorizing this annual proclamation, some 450 children under five years of age were killed each year in poisoning accidents. By 1983 (the last year for which we have complete statistics), the annual death toll for children under five had dropped to 55 -- an 88% reduction. Some of this improvement can be attributed to the use of child-resistant packaging, while another contributing factor is increased public awareness of the need to keep medicines and household chemicals out of the reach of children.

For the past 25 years, the Poison Prevention Week Council has coordinated a network of health, safety, business, and voluntary organizations in an effort to raise public awareness and to observe National Poison Prevention Week. The Consumer Product Safety Commission, which serves as the secretariat for the Poison Prevention Week Council, administers the Poison Prevention Packaging Act. This Act requires that 16 categories of hazardous household products, including prescription drugs, must be sold in child-resistant, safety packaging. Over the past two and a half decades, poison prevention programs have been implemented at the local level by poison control centers, safety councils, pharmacies, departments of health, hospitals, and many others. All of these organizations deserve great credit for a quarter of a century of success in raising public awareness of poison prevention and in sharply reducing the annual death toll.

We must continue to emphasize the need for poison prevention. Since children are particularly liable to accidental poisoning, their guardians should be informed of the need to use child-resistant packaging and to keep potential poisons out of the reach of children.

To encourage the American people to learn about the dangers of accidental poisonings and to take preventive measures, the Congress, by a joint resolution approved September 26, 1961 (75 Stat. 681), authorizes and requests the President to issue a proclamation designating the third week of March in each year as National Poison Prevention Week.

Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate the week beginning March 16, 1986, as National Poison Prevention Week. I call upon all Americans to observe this week by participating in appropriate observances and programs.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this thirteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-six and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and tenth.

Ronald Reagan

[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 10:52 a.m., January 14, 1986]

Proclamation 5429 -- National Day of Prayer

January 13, 1986

By the President of the United States

of America

A Proclamation

Prayer is deeply woven into the fabric of our history from its very beginnings. The same Continental Congress that declared our independence also proclaimed a National Day of Prayer. And from that time forward, it would be hard to exaggerate the role that prayer has played in the lives of individual Americans and in the life of the Nation as a whole.

Our greatest leaders have always turned to prayer at times of crisis. We recall the moving story of George Washington kneeling in the snow at Valley Forge to ask for divine assistance when the fate of our fledgling Nation hung in the balance. And Abraham Lincoln tells us that on the eve of the Battle of Gettysburg, ``I went into my room and got down on my knees in prayer.'' Never before, he added, had he prayed ``with as much earnestness.''

More than once, Lincoln also summoned the entire Nation to its knees before the God in Whose hand lies the destiny of nations. It was, he said, ``fit and becoming in all peoples, at all times, to acknowledge and revere the Supreme Government of God . . . and to pray with all fervency and contrition. . . .''

After the shock of Pearl Harbor, Franklin Roosevelt told us he took courage from the thought that ``the vast majority of the members of the human race'' joined us in a common prayer for victory as we fought for ``freedom under God.''

Prayer, of course, is deeply personal: the way in which it finds expression depends on our individual dispositions as well as on our religious convictions. Just as our religious institutions are guaranteed freedom in this land, so also do we cherish the diversity of our faiths and the freedom afforded to each of us to pray according to the promptings of our individual conscience.

Yet the light of prayer has a common core: it is our hopes and aspirations; our sorrows and fears; our deep remorse and renewed resolve; our thanks and joyful praise; and most especially our love -- all turned toward God. The Talmud aptly calls prayer the ``service of the heart,'' and Christ enjoins us to ``pray without ceasing.''

Accordingly, like the Presidents who have come before me, I invite my fellow citizens to join me in earnest prayer that the God Who has led and protected us through so many trials and favored us with such abundant blessings may continue to watch over our land. Let us never forget the wise counsel of Theodore Roosevelt that ``all our extraordinary material development . . . will go for nothing unless with that growth goes hand in hand the moral, the spiritual growth that will enable us to use aright the other as an instrument.''

In prayer, let us ask that God's light may illuminate the minds and hearts of our people and our leaders, so that we may meet the challenges that lie before us with courage and wisdom and justice. In prayer let us recall with confidence the promise of old that if we humble ourselves before God and pray and seek His face, He will surely hear and forgive and heal and bless our land.

By joint resolution of the Congress approved April 17, 1952, the recognition of a particular day set aside each year as a National Day of Prayer has become a cherished national tradition. Since that time, every President has proclaimed an annual National Day of Prayer, resuming the tradition begun by the Continental Congress.

Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Thursday, May 1, 1986, as National Day of Prayer. I call upon all Americans to join me in prayer that day. I ask them to gather in their homes and places of worship with their ministers and teachers of religion and heads of families, to give thanks for every good thing God has done for us and to seek His guidance and strength in the conduct of our lives.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this thirteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and tenth.

Ronald Reagan

[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 4:31 p.m., January 14, 1986]

Note: The proclamation was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on January 14.