World Smile Day® 1999 - The Beginning
The very first World Smile Day® took place in Worcester, MA on October 1, 1999. What a celebration it was! State and local dignitaries gathered and read proclamations in support of the day. Another proclamation recognizing the day was read on the floor of the United States Congress and is now part of the Congressional Record, the reporter of the official proceedings of the US Congress. Thousands of Worcester school children created World Smile Day® cards that were then delivered to area hospitals and nursing homes. The event became national and even international news.
The US Postal service came to Worcester that day to unveil its new Smiley Face stamp design. And, the Postal Service issued a special cancellation just for that event. Each year since then the USPS has issued a different cancellation commemorating the day.
In his inaugural address on that very first World Smile Day® Harvey Ball laid the groundwork for that World Smile Day® saying that the smiley face “…just reflects what is inside every one of us – a smile is what we want to see when we look at another human being.” He said, “Sometimes we forget that. Sometimes the world seems big and filled with problems that are too hard to understand much less solve. We start to believe that we are too small to make a difference. But that’s not true. The truth is that every one of us has the ability to make a difference every day.”
Harvey's hometown of Worcester, MA has been and continues to be the epicenter for World Smile Day®.
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