THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release August 8, 1994
The President today awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to the following individuals. The text of the accompanying citations reads as follows:
HERBERT BLOCK. Combining humor, satire, and an incisive wit, Herbert Block, better known by his pen name Herblock, has endowed editorial pages with his skilled artistry for nearly half a century. His political cartoons continue to enliven the minds and tweak the sensibilities of millions of Americans. Usually selecting his targets from among the powerful of Washington, every President since Herbert Hoover has known the sting of Herblock's pen. He instills in our Nation's leaders a dose of humility, reminding all of us that public service is a privilege.
CESAR E. CHAVEZ. (Posthumously) With few material possessions, but guided by his parents' steady example, his Catholic faith, the lessons of Gandhi, and an unshakable belief in justice, Cesar Chavez brought about much needed change in our country. An agricultural worker himself since childhood, he possessed a deep personal understanding of the plight of migrant workers, and he labored all his years to lift their lives. As the leader of United Farm Workers of America, he faced formidable, often violent opposition with dignity and nonviolence. And he was victorious. Cesar Chavez left our world better than he found it, and his legacy inspires us still.
ARTHUR FLEMMING. The highest attributes of Government service are clearly evident in the brilliant career of Arthur Flemming. Serving every President from Franklin Roosevelt to Ronald Reagan, he is a proven resource of astute intelligence and steadfast loyalty. On the first two Hoover Commissions, he strove to renew and reinvigorate established principles of governmental power and responsibility. From his role as Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, to his landmark efforts as Chairman of the Commission on Civil Rights, he consistently challenged the status quo. He not only sought health care reform, but he also summoned our Nation to uphold its promise of equality. Arthur Flemming has selflessly labored for decades to make American Government more effective and efficient. A grateful Nation thanks him.
JAMES GRANT. Recognizing that our children are our most important resource and most profound responsibility James Grant has devoted his life to making the world a better place for its youth. He has proven to be a compassionate and visionary executive director at UNICEF, teaching us the disastrous effects of poverty, population growth, and environmental degradation upon the vulnerable and dispossessed children of our world. Under his leadership, UNICEF has fought to reduce disease, malnutrition, disability, and illiteracy on a global scale. His wise stewardship has pointed the way toward a future in which these adversities may no longer threaten our children. James Grant continues to create hope and opportunity where there was once only despair, earning our eternal gratitude and ensuring a brighter tomorrow for our world.
DOROTHY IRENE HEIGHT. Dorothy Height has spent a lifetime providing leadership in the struggle to make the promise of equality a reality for people around the world. Beginning as a civil rights advocate in the 1930s, she soon gained prominence through her tireless efforts to promote interracial schooling, to register and educate voters, and to increase the visibility and status of women in our society. She has labored to provide hope for inner-city children and their families, and she can claim responsibility for many of the advances made by women and African Americans over the course of this century. For helping our Nation to more accurately reflect the noble principles on which it was founded, we honor Dorothy Height.
BARBARA JORDAN. Teaching by deed, as well as by word, Barbara Jordan has dramatically articulated an enduring standard of morality in American politics. Guided by an unshakable faith in the Constitution, she insists that it is the sacred duty of those who hold power to govern ethically and to preserve the rule of law. As the first African American woman elected to the Texas State Senate, her conspicuous abilities led her to the United States Congress, where her brilliant oratory and meticulous judgment earned our lasting respect. She continues her life's work as teacher, explaining and analyzing complex issues of moral responsibility in politics and imbuing the leaders of tomorrow with the ability to follow her formidable lead.
JOSEPH LANE KIRKLAND. Lane Kirkland is a hero of the modern labor movement -- a man who has spent his life forging solidarity among the men and women whose sweat and toil have built our world. Ever resolute in his quest to enhance opportunities for working people, he has tirelessly worked to strengthen democracy and to further the cause of human rights. During the Cold War, his vital assistance to the Solidarity movement in Poland spurred the forces of freedom toward victory in Eastern Europe, just as his guidance here at home helped to renew and fortify the American economy. As a people, we are indebted to Lane Kirkland for his talented leadership efforts as an advocate for unity and social justice.
ROBERT H. MICHEL. Demonstrating loyal devotion to our country, Bob Michel has worked ceaselessly to move our Nation forward. After valiant Army service during World War II, he chose to serve his community and country in the Congress, earning the trust of his constituents, election after election for nearly four decades. Raising his voice, sometimes in song, but always in the spirit of creative compromise and cooperation, he has won the enduring respect of his colleagues on Capitol Hill and of the nine Presidents with whom he has served. He retires as House Minority Leader, leaving a history of legislative victories that often broke gridlock in times of crisis. America thanks him for demonstrating the highest standards of public service, putting the interests of the Nation ahead of his own.
ROBERT SARGENT SHRIVER. Robert Sargent Shriver has not only shared, but shaped, the action and passion of his times. It was Sarge Shriver's energy, persuasion, and leadership that made the goals of the Peace Corps attainable -- that living reminder that the essence of American power is not might of arms, but constancy of ideals and perseverance of effort. That so much endures with his indelible stamp both stuns and invigorates: Head Start, VISTA, Foster Grandparents, Legal Services, the Job Corps, and more. He released a torrent of creative energy -- from Special Olympic athletes to Head Start students to National Service pioneers. "Serve, serve, serve," Sargent Shriver told Americans, "because in the end, it will be the servants who save us all." His service has been our legacy of hope.
# # #