Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld today presented the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service to Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina at a Pentagon luncheon.
This award recognizes Helms' contributions to the Department of Defense, the men and women of America's military forces, and the defense of freedom. The award citation follows:
"For exceptionally distinguished service over three decades in the U.S. Senate, and as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 1995-2001.
"From his service in the Navy during World War II, to his service in the U.S. Senate, Jesse Helms has been a devoted friend and determined advocate for the men and women of America's Armed Forces.
"Throughout his public life, he has been unswerving in his support for American military strength, and his conviction that our nation was founded to serve as a beacon of freedom to the world. History will remember his strong voice during the darkest hours of the Cold War, opposing tyranny, championing the liberation of captive nations, and insisting that freedom would prevail.
"After the collapse of communism, he continued his tireless efforts to preserve America's sovereignty and ability to defend liberty at home and abroad. At the same time, his leadership secured Senate approval for expansion of the NATO alliance to include former Warsaw Pact adversaries. He authored historic legislation to reform the United Nations, and became the first legislator in history, from any nation, to address the U.N. Security Council.
"Senator Helms has dedicated his career to promoting America's principled leadership in the world, and America and the world are better for his service. I take great pride in presenting Jesse Helms the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service."
The Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service is the highest honorary award presented by the Secretary of Defense to noncareer federal employees, private citizens and foreign nationals.