NATIONAL LEIF ERIKSON DAY
National Leif Erickson Day is observed annually on October 9th. The day honors Leif Erikson, the Norse explorer who brought the first Europeans known to have set foot in North America. Leif Erikson left the European continent in 999 and set foot in America in the year 1,000.
HOW TO OBSERVE
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In 1925, at the Norse-American Centennial, President Calvin Coolidge gave recognition to Leif Erikson as the discoverer of America due to research by Norwegian-American scholars such as Knut Geirset and Ludvig-Hektoen.
United States Representative John Blatnik from Duluth introduced a bill in 1963 to observe Leif Erikson Day nationwide. On September 2, 1964, the United States Congress passed Joint Resolution 88-566authorizing the President to proclaim October 9 as Leif Erikson Day. President Lyndon B. Johnson and each President since have done so. In the proclamations, the Presidents have praised the contributions of Americans of Nordic descent generally and the spirit of discovery.
Some states officially commemorate Leif Erikson Day in addition to the federal observance, particularly in the Upper Midwest where there are large numbers of people from the Nordic countries settled.
On October 9, 1825, a sloop named, Restauration, with 52 Norwegian Quakers on board, landed in New York Harbor beginning what would become the first organized immigration from Norway to the United States. In commemoration of their journey and their exploring ancestor, Congress selected October 9 for National Leif Erickson Day.
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