A pretty remarkable sight in the East Room of the White House Tuesday evening. The 44th President of the United States awarding the 41st President of the United States the Medal of Freedom.
The Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian award in the United States.
Here are President Obama's remarks:
"Finally, we recognize our last recipient, not simply for the years he spent as our 41st President. We honor George Herbert Walker Bush for service to America that has spanned nearly 70 years. From a decorated Navy pilot who nearly gave his life in World War II to U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. From CIA director to U.S. envoy to China to the vice presidency. His life is testament that public service is a noble calling.
As President, he expanded America’s promise to new immigrants and people with disabilities. He reduced nuclear weapons and built a broad international coalition to expel a dictator from Kuwait. And when democratic revolutions swept across Eastern Europe, it was the steady diplomatic hand of President Bush that made possible an achievement once thought impossible – ending the Cold War without firing a shot.
I would add that, like the remarkable Barbara Bush, his humility and decency reflects the very best of the American spirit. Inspiring citizens to become “points of light” in service to others. Teaming up with a one-time political opponent to champion relief for the victims of the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. And, well into his 80s, finding the courage to jump out of airplanes….because, he explains, “it feels good.”"
You can read more about the Medal of Freedom ceremony, including the other outstanding people who received the award, here.