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At an elegant black-tie dinner last night at Washington’s ANA Westin Hotel, the Center for Security Policy hosted its fifth annual “Keeper of the Flame” award ceremony in honor of Representative Jon Kyl of Arizona. This award is bestowed upon individuals whose distinguished public service has greatly advanced democracy, individual rights and the defense of freedom both at home and abroad. Previous recipients have been: former Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger, World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov, Senator Malcolm Wallop (R-WY) and Malcolm S. Forbes, Jr.

In his nine years in the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Kyl has established himself as one of that body’s most thoughtful, knowledgeable and dedicated leaders on matters of security policy. His seminal influence has been particularly felt on the House Armed Services and Government Operations Committees, on which he serves as a senior member. It extends, however, far beyond those panels’ jurisdictions by virtue of his wide-ranging interests, his intellectual abilities, his legislative acumen and his moral compass. Rep. Kyl has also served with distinction as an active member of the Center’s Board of Advisors for over five years.

Joining the Center in honoring Jon Kyl were over two hundred present and former senior government officials, foreign diplomats, top industrialists and members of the press. He was introduced by his colleague in the House, Rep. Christopher Cox of California, who said: “I have known Jon since I first became a member of Congress and I have taken to telling people when they ask me who are the good guys and who are the not so good [guys] in the United States Senate and in the House that the exemplar …against [whom] all others should be measured is Jon Kyl.He is my candidate for the very best member of the United States House of Representatives.”

Among those who sent warm tributes to Rep. Kyl were President Ronald Reagan, former Vice President Dan Quayle and Malcolm S. Forbes, Jr. Of the “Keeper of the Flame” and its 1994 honoree, President Reagan wrote:

“How wonderful that you are keeping with your noble tradition of acknowledging dedicated individuals who have displayed an unwavering commitment to our Nation’s security and the cause of peace. Jon Kyl is such a patriot and is most deserving of this tribute. Tonight his name is added to a list of great Americans, dedicated to the ideals that have made America the greatest nation on the face of this earth.”

The award — a magnificent Baccarat crystal in the shape of a symbolic flame — was presented by two other, esteemed friends of the Center: Mrs. Sophia Casey, widow of former CIA Director William Casey, and Mr. Richard M. Scaife, publisher of thePittsburgh Tribune-Review.

In a moving acceptance speech, Rep. Kyl underscored a favorite Center theme — the urgent need to adopt strong national security policies in the face of three pressing defense problems confronting the Nation:the absence of any defense against the growing threat of ballistic missile attack; the Clinton Administration’s failure to provide the resources required to maintain an effective, ready and well-equipped military; and its dangerous effort to “denuclearize” the United States — a program that is comprehensively eliminating the personnel, facilities and capabilities necessary to maintain a credible nuclear deterrent.

Center for Security Policy

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