Monday, July 13, 1998


You can neither honor the past, nor imagine the future, nor achieve it without the kind of citizenship embodied by all of our memories of the flag. So as you see this flag and leave this place, promise yourself that when your great-grandchildren are here, they'll not only be able to see the Star Spangled Banner, it will mean just as much to them as it does to you.

President Bill Clinton
July 13, 1998

Today, President and Mrs. Clinton travel to the National Museum of American History to recognize gifts for the preservation, conservation, and reinstallation of the Star-Spangled Banner. The preservation of this historic flag is part of the White House Millennium Program, a project to promote America's creativity and preserve our heritage and culture into the 21st Century. This event launches a four-day "Save America's Treasures" tour sponsored by the White House Millennium Council. During this tour, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to eleven sites in the Northeast United States to raise public awareness of the need to preserve our historic treasures for the future.

Preserving The Past To Imagine The Future. As America moves into the 21st Century, we must carry forward the heritage that embodies our nation's memory to inspire future generations. That is why President Clinton proposed a Millennium Fund to "Save America's Treasures", that would be administered through the Department of Interior. Half of the resources allocated through this program would go to the most urgent preservation projects of national or regional significance, with the other half going directly to the states, through State Historic Preservation Officers, for the most important preservation projects identified by them after broad consultation.

Restoring The Star-Spangled Banner. During the War of 1812, the Star-Spangled Banner flew over Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland. During the fierce battle for that fort, Francis Scott Key saw this majestic flag, which inspired him to write a poem entitled "In Defense of Fort McHenry", now known as the "Star Spangled Banner". The flag, which dates to 1813, has deteriorated due to overexposure to light and dirt, and is in desperate need of restoration. Through the financial gifts of a number of private organizations and government sources, the flag will be preserved for generations to come.

A Tour To Highlight Our Historic National Treasures. Today's event at the National Museum of American History begins the First Lady's "Save America's Treasures" tour, sponsored by the White House Millennium Council. Over the next four days, the First Lady will travel to national historic sites which reflect our nation's heritage. All of these sites have artifacts, buildings, and monuments that must be preserved to ensure their survival into the next century.

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