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For Immediate Release
Office of the Vice President
July 14, 2005

Vice President's Remarks at Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor Awards Presentation
Dwight D. Eisenhower Office Building
Room 350

3:15 P.M. EDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much, and good afternoon. And let me thank our Attorney General, Al Gonzales. We do miss him now that he's across town. But I think he still has mess privileges in the White House. But we're delighted to be here with all of you today for a very special occasion. Of course, we're joined by visitors from across the country. And I'm delighted to participate in this ceremony and have the opportunity, along with General Gonzales, to welcome all of you to the White House.

Today we recognize nine men and one woman who, as public safety officers, have performed with extraordinary distinction in the face of peril. And I count it a high honor to share the stage with each and every one of them.

As a nation that believes deeply in the dignity and the worth of every life, the United States of America has always reserved special respect for those -- and appreciation of men and women who devote their careers to public safety. Each day in our country, sworn public safety officers go to work not knowing what challenges the shift might bring, yet fully committed to answering those challenges squarely and decisively. In my line of work, we draft and debate and enact laws. Yet ultimately our laws depend on the men and women whose job it is to enforce them, carrying a badge, keeping the peace, and protecting the lives and the property of others.

And in every community, we depend on the firefighters who answer the alarms and those whose first act of bravery is taking the oath to serve. All these professionals give their fellow citizens peace of mind, the moral certainty that when the need arises someone will be there to confront the violent, to search for the trapped and helpless, and very frequently to go directly into the face of danger.

This afternoon we gather in tribute to 10 public safety officers who have met that standard and then some, and have therefore earned the Medal of Valor. This medal is the highest award our nation can bestow for valor by a public safety officer. It's reserved for men and women who display exceptional courage, extraordinary decisiveness and presence of mind, and unusual swiftness of action, disregarding their own safety in order to protect others in action above and beyond the call of duty.

In a moment, you will hear the citations honoring six members of the Fire Department of Kansas City, Missouri; and law enforcement officers from Orange County, Florida; Lexington-Fayette Urban County, Kentucky; Washington, D.C.; and Marietta, Georgia.

The citations describe situations of peril in which the stakes were high, moments that required unbending courage, decisive action and superior judgment, exercised in split-second fashion. By their actions, these public safety officers have reflected the highest credit on the uniforms they wear, and on the communities they so proudly serve.

For those of us gathered today in their honor, this is a moment of pride and privilege. For we are in the presence of 10 of the most dedicated, daring, brave and admirable Americans of this generation.

Now I ask Attorney General Gonzales to read the citations, and I will make the presentations on behalf of the President of the United States.

(The medals are presented.)

END 3:25 P.M. EDT

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