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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                           (Atlanta, Georgia)
For Immediate Release                                     August 9, 1999


The President today will award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to President Carter and Mrs. Rosalynn Carter.

President Kennedy established the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Executive Order on February 22, 1963. He announced the first Presidential Medal of Freedom award recipients in 1963; and President Johnson made the first presentations of the Medal in a ceremony at the White House on December 6, 1963. It is the highest civilian award bestowed by the United States Government. The Medal is awarded by the President only to those persons whom he deems to have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors. Citizens of other nations may receive the Medal, and honorees may receive it posthumously. Recipients are awarded a medal and a citation signed by the President.

The text of the citation presented to the Carters reads as follows:


Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter have forged an extraordinary partnership, devoting their lives to improving our Nation and our world. As America's 39th Chief Executive, President Carter placed human rights at the center of his foreign policy, achieved an extraordinary breakthrough for peace in the Middle East, and embraced America's challenges at home with unusual innovation and vigor. As a universally respected international statesman, he has worked to advance peace, democracy and human rights, and to diminish hunger and disease around the globe. A path-breaking First Lady and a powerful force for good, Rosalynn Carter has been a national leader for improved mental health care, childhood immunization, women's equality, and better care for seniors. Together, through their many good works and their powerful example, they have lifted the dignity of people everywhere. For this, they have earned a unique place in our history and the respect and gratitude of all Americans.

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