President George W. Bush Awards Nelson Mandela Presidential Medal of Freedom
On July 9 2002 U.S. President George W. Bush presented Nelson Mandela with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the East Room of the White House.
'Shortly after he arrived on South Africa's Robben Island to begin serving his prison sentence for resisting apartheid, Nelson Mandela refused an order to jog from the harbor to the prison gate,' President Bush said. 'When a prison warden threatened to kill him, here's what he said: 'If you so much as lay a hand on me, I will take you to the highest court in the land, and when I finish with you, you'll be as poor as a church mouse.' The warden backed off and so, eventually, did other, more powerful representatives of apartheid, all of whom were humbled by Mandela's immense moral authority. It is this moral stature that has made Nelson Mandela perhaps the most revered statesman of our time,' the president said.
Interesting that Mr Bush should open his remarks with a reference to Mandela beginning the 'serving of his prison sentence for resisting apartheid.'
If this was another time, and in other circumstances, the U.S. president would be referring to Mandela as a 'terrorist,' and the begininng to of the service of his time would be for 'terrorist attacks.'
This is how the opponents of apartheid in South Africa were described by their government. And yes Mandela was listed as a terrorist by the United States, and his party, the African National Congress, or the ANC, was listed as a terrorist organization.
A comedy legend, a home run king and a human rights champion were among an elite group of 12 recently honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in Washington, D.C.
President Bush presented the nation's highest civilian honor to Bill Cosby, Hank Aaron, Nelson Mandela and others in arts, sports, entertainment, politics and journalism in the East Room of the White House.
"Bill Cosby is a gifted comedian who has used the power of laughter to heal wounds and build bridges," Bush said. "By focusing on our common humanity, Bill Cosby is helping to create a truly united America."
True to his jokester reputation, Cosby shouted "Present!" when his turn came to receive the award. When the president patted the comedian on the back as they stood together during the ceremony, Cosby pretended Bush had goosed him, then tripped on the way back to his seat.
The president also paid tribute to Hank Aaron, who hit 755 home runs in his 23-year career with the Milwaukee Braves, Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers.
"Hank Aaron overcame poverty and racism to become one of the most accomplished baseball players of all time," Bush said. "By steadily pursuing his calling in the face of unreasoning hatred, Hank Aaron has proven himself a great human being, as well as a great athlete."