The American Presidency Project
John T. Woolley & Gerhard Peters • Santa Barbara, California return to original document
• John F. Kennedy
Statement by the President Upon Issuing Order Relating to the Medal of Freedom.
February 22, 1963

IN A PERIOD when the national government must call upon an increasing portion of the talents and energies of its citizens, it is clearly appropriate to provide ways to recognize and reward the work of persons, within and without the Government, who contribute significantly to the quality of American life. In the years since World War II a number of important Presidential honors have been established for this purpose. Of these, the Medal of Freedom has emerged as the highest civil honor conferred by the President for service in peacetime. However, until now no procedure has been established whereby awards are made on a regular, systematic basis. If civil honors are to serve their proper function of rewarding and encouraging public service and high achievement in all forms of endeavor that are touched with the public interests such arrangements are necessary. Executive Order 11085 establishes such a procedure and provides safeguards to ensure that the President will receive considered and prudent advice as to those who should receive such honors.

Citation: John F. Kennedy: "Statement by the President Upon Issuing Order Relating to the Medal of Freedom.", February 22, 1963. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project.
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