Thank you very, very much, Colonel Collins, Mrs. Fain, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:
It's a surprise for you, but it is a pleasure for me to honor all of the honorees who are here tonight and to participate in a very small way in the presentation of the Freedom Foundation's awards.
The very high standards of responsible citizenship which the Freedom Foundation promotes is well represented by the 16 award winners we honor here tonight. I commend each of the award winners for having earned this very prestigious recognition and commendation.
As Americans, we all have a very solemn opportunity and duty to preserve, to protect, and to defend the liberties which are our American birthright. This involves more than mighty armies, mighty navies, mighty air forces--although our military strength must never be in doubt.
The preservation of freedom also requires of us an active participation in the great adventure of self-government. As we enter this third century of America's independence, it is my hope that each and every one of us will renew our strong commitment to the system of government laid out with great care and paid for at a very great cost by our forebears.
May we also quicken our interest in the work of that government and in the progress of our people and take a much more personal stake in the future of the nation that each and every one of us loves. This is the example so forcefully set by the recipients of this award here tonight.
I join you in congratulating each and every one of them, and I have enjoyed immensely this short but wonderful opportunity to participate in this wonderful occasion. I wish all of you the very best, and I commend you and congratulate you for the contribution that you have made to a better America.
Thank you very, very kindly.