Presidential Medals of Freedom Awarded

President Bush awarded Presidential Medals of Freedom to a wonderful group of recipients today: Julia Child, Dave Thomas, Van Cliburn, Jacques Barzun, Charlton Heston, Vaclav Havel, Edward Teller, James Q. Wilson, Byron White, John Wooden and Roberto Clemente (posthumously, obviously). While they are a varied group, there is a definite conservative presence, with Heston, Teller, Wilson and to some degree Barzun and Havel.
Although not well-remembered today by the general public, Teller has been regarded as a villain by the Left for many years. Not for inventing the hydrogen bomb, but for “selling out” the unreliable left-winger Robert Oppenheimer at a security clearance hearing in 1954; for supporting the Vietnam War and advocating decisive measures to win it; and, more recently, for his strong support of missile defense systems.
Here is what President Bush said about Charlton Heston:
“Charlton Heston is known for his portrayals of the most compelling dramatic figures: Moses, Judah Ben-Hur, Michelangelo, General Andrew Jackson, and Captain George Taylor. In the process, Charlton Heston, himself, has become one of the great names in film history. Over more than half a century his talent and intensity have proven big enough to fill any role.
“The largeness of character that comes across the screen has also been seen throughout his life: during Charlton Heston’s service in World War II, his leadership of a labor union, his activism on behalf of civil rights, and his principled defense of the Bill of Rights. Charlton Heston has left his mark on our country as an artist and as a citizen and as a patriot, and we’re honored he is with us today.”
In the photo below, President Bush helps the ailing Heston to his feet before awarding his medal. The full text of President Bush’s remarks is here.


Books to read from Power Line