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US President Lyndon Johnson declares October 31st, 'National UNICEF Day' in perpetuity

The horrors of World War II were still a part of the fabric of American life in 1949. When the children of Reverend Allison of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania showed concern for Europe's children still suffering in the wake of the war, he devised a unique way for them to get involved. On Halloween night the three Allison children went door-to-door to collect money for their peers in post-World War II Europe. They raised a total of $17 and donated it all to UNICEF. Reverend Allison also ensured that other Presbyterian Sunday schools also participated.

Inspired by their innovative and philanthropic spirit, the campaign that came to be known as ‘Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF’ was launched nationwide.

US President Lyndon Johnson highly approved of the campaign, and on March 17, 1965, in a statement to the U.S. Committee for UNICEF, said: "In keeping with our traditional spirit of good will and generosity, each American can help UNICEF to continue its work by participating in the trick-or-treat program at Halloween and in the greeting card campaign. Mrs. Johnson and I hope that our fellow citizens this year will once again join in bringing the opportunity for a better life to more of the world's children."

The following year President Johnson of the USA declared Halloween, 31 October, to be 'National UNICEF Day’ in perpetuity in the United States.

The request to President Johnson was first put forth by the Honorable Robert W. Kastenmeier of Wisconsin, of the House of Representatives on Monday, March 7, 1966. His speech was reprinted in the Congressional Record, "UNICEF and the 1965 Nobel Peace Prize: Request to the President To Designate October 31 as National UNICEF Day".

Two days later, on March 9, 1966, The Honorable Joseph D. Tydings of Maryland, in the Senate introduced Joint Resolution 144
authorizing and requesting the President to designate October 31 as National UNICEF Day.

 


(click picture for display size of first page of Speech)

Requesting the President of the United States to declare National UNICEF Day
"I now introduce a resolution to authorize and request the President of the United States to issue annually a proclamation designating October 31 as National UNICEF Day. I invite my colleagues to join with me in supporting this resolution. What greater promise of world peace can we in this Congress encourage than to give our blessing to this constructive program of children-to-children cooperation? May I say also that I agree wholeheartedly with our President when he says that there is no nobler work for peace."

             From the Speech of the
             Honorable Robert W. Kastenmeier of Wisconsin
             House of Representatives, United States Congress
             Monday, March 7, 1966.


(click picture for display size of Speech)

Congressionl Record of the Joint Resolution 144
authorizing and requesting President Johnson to designate October 31 as National UNICEF Day.

"
Whereas the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth in the world's developing countries through assistance to governments to help eliminate hunger, disease, and ignorance; and

Whereas the accomplishments of UNICEF have been recognized by the high honor of the award of the 1965 Nobel Peace Prize; and

Whereas the peace of the world in the future depends on ncreasing the opportunities for development of today's children; and

Whereas UNICEF's programs in behalf of children and youth are dependent for financial support upon the voluntary contributions
of governments and private citizens;
and

Whereas the children of the United States are making ail important contribution to UNICEF through the trick-or-treat campaign on Halloween:

Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the President of the United States is authorized and requested to issue annually a proclamation designating October 31 as National UNICEF Day, inviting the Governors and mayors of State and local governments of the United States to issue similar proclamations, and urging all Americans, both adults and children, in their traditional spirit of good will, to continue and to strengthen their support of UNICEF, not only as individuals but also through their schools, their churches, and other community organizations."

 

 

 

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