(COLORADO SPRINGS) — On May 25, 1983, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the first National Missing Children’s Day in memory of Etan Patz, a 6-year-old boy who disappeared on May 25, 1979.

Each year the Department of Justice (DOJ) commemorates Missing Children’s Day by honoring the heroic and exemplary efforts of agencies, organizations, and individuals to protect children.

in 1979 Patz went missing on his way to school and was reported missing when he didn’t return home. Patz was never found and was declared legally dead in 2001. Two years after Patz went missing, on July 27, 1981, 6-year-old Adam Walsh was abducted from a Florida shopping mall. The resulting media attention heightened awareness of missing and abducted children and the missing children’s movement was created according to the DOJ.

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) said “National Missing Children’s Day is dedicated to encouraging parents, guardians, caregivers, and others concerned with the well-being of children to make child safety a priority. The commemoration serves as a reminder to continue our efforts to reunite missing children with their families and an occasion to honor those dedicated to this cause.”