George W. Bush photo

Remarks on Presenting the National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal

November 15, 2007

The President. Thank you all. Good morning. Laura and I welcome you to the East Room for a joyous event, the presentation of two sets of important awards: the National Medals of the Arts and the National Humanities Medals. These medals recognize great contributions to art, music, theater, writing, history, and general scholarship.

We congratulate the medalists. We welcome your families. We thank your loved ones for supporting you. And on behalf of a grateful nation, we honor your great talent and accomplishments.

Obviously, I'm pleased to be here with my wife. [Laughter] I am proud to be here with Mrs. Lynne Cheney as well. I thank the Members of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives for joining us as we honor our fellow citizens. I'm so pleased to welcome Dana Gioia, Chairman of the National Endowment of the Arts, and Dr. Bruce Cole, Chairman of the National Endowment of the Humanities. Thank you all for coming, and thank you for your leadership. I'm proud that a fellow Texan, Adair Margo— is the Chairman of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities—has joined us.

Our honorees represent the great strength and diversity of the American culture. The winners of the arts include a Native American poet, an orchestra conductor, a composer of choral music, a pioneer of electric musical instruments, and a man whose last name is synonymous with fine American craftsmanship. Our honorees have created some of the emblematic images of our time, supported museums and theaters, and helped nurture young talent.

The winners of the humanities have also made great and lasting contributions to our society. They include scholars and historians and a philanthropist. These men and women have shaped our understanding of the past, chronicled stories of tyranny overcome by liberty, and helped preserve our cultural treasures for future generations.

Your accomplishments will remind us that freedom of thought and freedom of expression are two pillars of our democracy. These freedoms have helped our Nation build some of the finest centers of learning in the world. They've helped inspire new movements in art and literature, and they've helped fill our libraries and museums and theaters with great works for all our citizens to enjoy.

America is committed to supporting the arts and humanities. For more than four decades, the National Endowment of the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities has helped enrich our culture and deepened our appreciation for the ideals that bind us together as Americans. Some interesting programs that are run out of these important institutions, like "We the People" and "American Masterpieces," that expose a new generation of Americans to American history and literature and art. And Laura and I strongly support these programs.

It is now my privilege to present the National Medals of Art and the National Humanities Medals. Once again, I congratulate our honorees, because in your work, we see the creativity of the American spirit and the values that have made our Nation great.

And so now I ask the military aide to read the citations.

[At this point, Lt. Cmdr. Dan Walsh, USCG, Coast Guard Aide to the President, read the citations, and the President presented the medals.]

The President. My wife.

NOTE: The President spoke at 10:03 a.m. in the East Room at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Lynne V. Cheney, wife of Vice President Dick Cheney. The transcript released by the Office of the Press Secretary also included the remarks of the First Lady.

George W. Bush, Remarks on Presenting the National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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