Bush awards Medal of Freedom; lauds State

Jan. 15, 2009 at 7:19 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker received the Medal of Freedom Thursday for helping build "a more peaceful world," President George W. Bush said.

"For nearly four decades, Ryan Crocker has advanced our nation's interests and ideals around the world," Bush said. After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, "he worked to build a worldwide coalition to combat terrorism and help millions of oppressed people travel the path to liberty and democracy."

Bush commended Crocker for "unwavering commitment to strengthening our nation and building a freer and more peaceful world."

Bush also recognized the members of Foreign Service, who he said helped strengthen alliances and make the world freer.

"This is a profession that requires commitment and sacrifice," Bush said. "When you volunteered for the Foreign Service, you agreed to put the needs of your country before your own and your family. You agreed to spend years away from home, and you knew that your service might just put you in harm's way."

The president said the diplomatic corps helped the United States build "a coalition of more than 90 nations to fight terror and advance the cause of freedom" around the world.

"I have relied on your expertise, your advice, and your good judgment," he said. "I will always be grateful for your valor and your professionalism."

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