116 years ago today Walter Elias Disney was born to Elias and Flora Disney in Chicago, Illinois. He went on to create magic for kids all around the world. He is beloved by so many people and has been celebrated in so many different ways. Walt even had his own national holiday. During Ronald Reagan’s presidency, December 5, 1986 was designated as Walt Disney Recognition Day. The official proclamation reads:
December 5, 1986, marks the eighty-fifth anniversary of the birth of Walt Disney. “Uncle Walt,” as he was affectionately known to his moviemaking colleagues in Hollywood, was just that to several generations of American families: a warm, generous uncle who sat us on his knee and told and retold us stories of comedy, imagination, and adventure. He was a superb animator, a technical wizard, an astute manager and businessman, but above all he was a man who never lost touch with his child’s heart and sense of wonder.
After summarizing Walt’s successful life and career, the proclamation continues:
Walt Disney’s true drawing table was the imagination, his themes were virtues like courage and hope, and his audience was composed of young people — in years or at heart — who, through the creations of this American genius, found new ways to laugh, to cry, and to just plain appreciate the “simple bare necessities of life.”
I cannot think of a better tribute to such an incredible man. So today, in celebration of Walt Disney’s 116th birthday, let us remember the ways Walt has encouraged people everywhere “to laugh, to cry, and to … appreciate the ‘simple bare necessities of life.'”