In the company of over 350 fellow military officers, top legislators and congressional staff, executive branch officials (past and present), corporate leaders, diplomats and other admirers — the 32nd Commandant of the Marine Corps General James L. Jones last night was honored by the Center for Security Policy for his lifetime of service to the Nation. In recognition of his more than three decades in combat and command positions around the world and in the corridors of power in Washington, the Commandant received the Center’s prestigious “Keeper of the Flame” award for 1999.
Throughout his career, General Jones has demonstrated unique personal and professional qualities that have earned him the respect, admiration and confidence of his superiors, peers and subordinates in the U.S. military — and all those whose lives he has touched.
The following were among the highlights of General Jones’ remarks:
- “Those of us who are privileged to be here today and wear the uniform…have an obligation. The obligation is to say ‘Thank you’ — and, more than that, the obligation is to keep that drive and that spirit and that global example of what is humanly achievable by men and women of character, of courage and of commitment who are bonded together in the pursuit of the most wonderful that mankind can aspire to.”
- “I think that President Reagan probably was able to express [the need for U.S. leadership] perhaps better then anybody else has in a long time. Because when he spoke, regardless of the political ideology, he was able to touch a chord, a deep inner response, that was alive in each and every American who cared about the country, who cared about our role in the world, who cared and understood that at the forefront of every good thing that happened int he 20th century was either a man or a women in the American uniform.”
- “The Keeper of the Flame is alive and well in all members of the uniformed military and I think that if President Reagan were with us tonight he would probably share with us [the following] quote…with regard to his presidency: ‘It was leadership here at home that gave a strong American influence abroad and the collapse of imperial Communism. Great nations have responsibilities to lead. And we should always be cautious of those who would lower our profile because they might just wind up lowering our flag.'”
- “It is up to us as we depart the 20th Century to pay the respect that is due to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, the sacrifice characterized by selflessness by putting duty above self, by putting the values of the country above individual rewards and by understanding the fact that in this country we still are the best hope and the best example for mankind.”
The black tie award dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel also marked the tenth anniversary of the Center’s “Keeper of the Flame” award. Among those commemorating the 10 years of honoring individuals who devote their public careers to the propagation of democracy and the respect for individual rights throughout the world and paying tribute to General Jones were:
- Senator John Warner, Republican of Virginia — who together with Rep. Jack Murtha, Democrat of Pennsylvania, served as one of the Dinner Co-Chairman — expressed his support for the work of the Center for Security Policy and lauded his long-time friend, General Jones.
- Sgt. Jim Wright, USMC (Ret.) and Dave Regal, two of the troops commanded by then-Lieutenant James Jones in Vietnam, who recalled the bravery and exemplary leadership of General Jones while in combat. Sergeant Wright and Mr. Regal then presented General Jones with a collage of photographs from his days in Vietnam displayed around a picture of the General being sworn in as the 32nd Commandant.
- Former Secretary of the Navy James H. Webb, Jr. who introduced General Jones and described the uniqueness of General Jones for having excelled in all of the tasks to which he had been assigned — from commands in combat and peacetime to his superb service as the Marine liaison officer to the United States Senate and his tours of duty as the Military Secretary to former Commandant Alfred Gray and Military Assistant to Secretary of Defense William Cohen.
- Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona and Representative Floyd Spence of South Carolina presented General Jones with the Keeper of the Flame award. Closing remarks were provided by the Chairman of the Center’s Board of Directors, Douglas J. Feith.
The Center’s President, Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., announced the formation of a new CSP Military Committee under the interim chairmanship of the former Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic Admiral Leon “Bud” Edney. This Committee currently consists of sixteen former three- and four-star flag officers — including Admiral Leighton “Snuffy” Smith and General Frederick “Fritz” Kroesen, who were present — who have agreed to help the Center stimulate and inform the security policy debate by exposing decision-makers, the media and the public to the experience and judgment of some of the Nation’s most distinguished retired senior military commanders. In a surprise announcement, the Center’s Board of Directors asked Senator Kyl to present a special “Keeper of the Flame” award to Mr. Gaffney honoring CSP’s work on behalf of robust security policies based on the principle of peace through strength during its eleven years of operations.
Among the many other notables who joined in honoring General Jones were: Admiral Jay Johnson, Chief of Naval Operations; Senator Chuck Robb, Democrat of Virginia, Representatives Christopher Cox and Tillie Fowler, Republicans of California and Florida, respectively, and former Representative Gerald Solomon.
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