WARSAW, Dec. 19 -- Zbigniew Brzezinski, the U.S. national security adviser under President Jimmy Carter, was decorated Tuesday with Poland's highest medal, the Order of the White Eagle. President Lech Walesa, who presented the award, said Brzezinski was honored for his contributions to the independence of Poland and its introduction of democratic changes.
'Being a citizen of the United States, you have never stopped taking interest in the affairs of your former motherland,' Walesa said during the decoration ceremony. Brzezinski said it is a remarkable day in his life and added that Poland now has the best chance to enter European system. 'You must not waste this chance,' he said. The Order of the White Eagle was established 300 years ago to honor persons of special merit for activities on behalf of the Polish state. It was banned during the communist regime and was reinstated after its fall in 1989.