Ambassador Petr and Mrs. Kolar, I thank you so much for hosting this evening’s reception.
Chairman Warner, Congressmen Rohrabacher and Lincoln Diaz-Balart. Dana, thank you for sponsoring the legislation to establish the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. It was a wise act and a timely one. Good for you!
Lee Edwards, I thank you for your invitation and for what you do. Your father, my friend, would approve of his son’s many important contributions to freedom.
Ambassadors, distinguished officials, honored guests;
I am delighted to join in paying tribute to a friend of some 39 years, Dr. Ed Feulner.
Ed, I congratulate you on this well deserved award. The Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom is named for two of the greatest -- indeed the historic -- leaders of the Cold War. These men -- Midwesterners each -- from different political parties, shared a common belief in the strength of our country and in the power of freedom to overcome the challenges posed by totalitarians and extremists. And few in Washington have worked harder to defend those ideals -- and to defend the strength of free systems -- than Ed Feulner.
Ed’s advocacy of freedom lies at the very heart of the institution that, for 29 years, he has led, and loved, and worked to build into one of the most influential -- and in some quarters, I might add, one of the most feared -- institutions in the country.
The Heritage Foundation has been on the frontlines of freedom. In its own way, it has, as Ed once put it, “conducted warfare in the battle of ideas.” As Secretary of Defense, the contributions of the Heritage Foundation to our national security have been welcome. At the heart of the Heritage Foundation’s insights is an understanding of the greatness of the values America represents.
Today, as in most generations past, our country and those values are under attack. We are engaged in another ideological battle against a totalitarian ideology that seeks to destroy our free way of life.
During the Cold War, I remember there was real doubt that the United States would prevail against the Soviet Union. Some even contended that it was America that was the problem. Well, I, for one, don’t wake up in the morning thinking that America is what’s wrong with the world. We are on the right side of history. We are on the side of freedom.
Think of this gathering -- here at the embassy of a free Czech Republic -- you realize that everyone back then who said that Communism was the wave of the future, that we were on the losing side, that America’s best days were behind it -- well, they were flat wrong.
For the forty years of the Cold War, millions were trapped behind an Iron Curtain -- but they held out hope for an end to the repressive regimes that ruled them. Today those millions -- Czechs, Georgians, Poles, Ukrainians, the people of the Baltics -- all live in freedom because of the belief, the values, and the ideas championed by so many of you here, and by our friend, Ed Feulner.
Ed, my congratulations to you for your courage, your spirit, your perseverance, and the role you have played in the history of human freedom. You sir, are a giant! I’m proud to know you as a friend.