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Powell Is Awarded Liberty Medal

Tribute: Secretary of State, at Independence Hall, is cited for efforts in terrorism war and the battle for human rights.

July 05, 2002|From Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA--Secretary of State Colin L. Powell was awarded the 2002 Philadelphia Liberty Medal on Thursday for his leadership in the war on terrorism, his efforts in the Middle East and his concern for human rights.

Powell said the ceremony at Independence Hall was proof that the nation's spirit had not been broken since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"The terrorists thought that they could keep us from celebrating the Fourth of July. They were wrong. We are here, and we will remain," Powell said.

Powell also asked all Americans to devote more time to public service.

"Everybody can make the time to serve on a school board, volunteer at a local shelter, mentor a kid who needs someone to care," he said.

Powell, 65, rose from humble beginnings in Harlem to become the nation's first black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1989. He directed Operation Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf in 1991.

He chaired a volunteer organization and wrote a bestselling autobiography before being sworn in as secretary of State on Jan. 20, 2001.

Philadelphia Mayor John F. Street called Powell "a warrior for peace, a warrior for justice."

"Colin Powell is driven by a conviction that the world must be cleansed of hatred and restored to dignity," Street said.

The Liberty Medal was established in 1988 to honor individuals or organizations whose actions represent the founding principles of the United States. Past recipients include former President Carter, former Israeli Prime Minister (and now foreign minister) Shimon Peres and the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

The Liberty Medal is administered by Greater Philadelphia First, a regional business and civic organization, and comes with a $100,000 prize.

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