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Remarks as Delivered: Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, Adm. Mark Ferguson at the Ellis Island Medals of Honor Ceremony

May 9, 2015 at 10:26 PM UTC
Summary:

Good Evening.

The Ellis Island Medal of Honor is more than the recognition of individual achievement; it is the affirmation of an exceptional ideal – namely, that we should live in a free society where we have the opportunity to build better lives for our children and rise to positions of prominence based solely on our dreams, abilities, and effort.

And because this award celebrates the commitment, courage, and sacrifices of a family, often over generations, my family is as proud of this award as any I have received in my military service.

Good Evening.

The Ellis Island Medal of Honor is more than the recognition of individual achievement; it is the affirmation of an exceptional ideal – namely, that we should live in a free society where we have the opportunity to build better lives for our children and rise to positions of prominence based solely on our dreams, abilities, and effort.

And because this award celebrates the commitment, courage, and sacrifices of a family, often over generations, my family is as proud of this award as any I have received in my military service.

We owe so much to this great country. Sharing this stage with so many distinguished Americans reminds me why those of us in the military have chosen to wear the cloth of the nation.

Our service is a small repayment of the great debt we owe for the freedom and opportunity afforded by this great country.

Last year, young men and women from over 90 countries joined the U.S. Navy. They took an oath of allegiance to the Constitution because they believe in its ideals and wish to add their contributions to the story of America.

I first learned American history helping my mother study for her citizenship exam, and know the pride of watching her take the oath as an American citizen.

On behalf of my family, I accept this award. Thank you for this great honor.

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