Observed annually, National Missing Children’s Day has been commemorated each year on May 25th since 1983, when it was first proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan.
There was a series of high-profile missing children cases that made national headlines in the several years following the establishment of National Missing Children’s day.
Six-year-old Etan Patz disappeared from his New York City home on his way from the bus to school on May 25, 1979. May 25, the date of Etan’s disappearance, was designated as National Missing Children’s Day. During the time of his disappearance, cases of missing children rarely gained national media attention. However, Etan’s case quickly received much coverage. Etan’s father, who was a professional photographer, distributed black-and-white photographs of his son in an effort to find him. The result was a massive search and media attention that focused the public’s attention on the problem of child abductions and the lack of plans to address them.
For more information, visit the National Day Calendar page for National Missing Children’s Day.