On May 25, 1979, 6-year-old Etan Patz disappeared from a New York street corner on his way to school. Etan’s disappearance increased nationwide awareness on the issue of missing children.
In 1983, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed May 25th as National Missing Children’s Day. Since that time, family members, friends, public agencies, and private organizations have gathered in communities throughout the country to raise public awareness about missing children and to recognize the need to work together to respond effectively to this national problem. Each year, the Department of Justice commemorates Missing Children’s Day with a ceremony in Washington, DC to honor the heroic and exemplary efforts of agencies, organizations, and individuals to protect children.
In conjunction with the ceremony, the Department of Justice hosts an annual poster contest for fifth graders. For more information on the poster contest, please visit the poster contest page.