In the spring of 2012 at the 45th Annual CSPC Awards Dinner, the Center was pleased to honor Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta with its Dwight D. Eisenhower Award for distinguished public service in navigating the numerous fiscal and military challenges of our time. At the dinner, CSPC also recognized this year’s participants in its Presidential Fellows Program, presenting awards for most original paper and best historical analysis of the Presidency.
Attended by 300 distinguished guests and supporters of the Center at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Washington, D.C., the awards dinner was an evening to remember, celebrating the accolades of Secretary Panetta and the brave men and women of our armed forces, including a veteran of The Mission Continues, an organization that empowers wounded and disabled veterans to begin new lives of public service. After a stirring rendition of the national anthem by the Joint Service Color Guard, a letter from President Barack Obama was read aloud extending his congratulations to the Secretary and our Presidential Fellows. This was followed by a video, generously sponsored by Robert and Kelly Day, Ray Irani, and Stanley Zax, paying tribute to the life-long service of the Secretary and his decades of strategic leadership and working across party lines. Former Veterans Affairs and Army Secretary, Togo West, followed with a moving introduction of the Secretary, citing the enormous hardships that Panetta has overcome in Congress, in the Clinton administration, in the CIA, and most recently as head of the Department of Defense.
President Eisenhower once said that “the virtues most cherished by free people--love of truth, pride of work, devotion to country--all are treasures equally precious in the lives of the most humble and of the most exalted.” A gifted manager with an innate strategic sense, Secretary Panetta’s experience has made him perhaps the most able political diplomat of his time. Like Eisenhower in his own time, Panetta seems providentially prepared and well-suited to the extraordinary challenges facing our nation today. As a student of history, Secretary Panetta understands the lessons of his predecessors and has tactfully translated them into solutions for today’s ever-changing world. Coupled with his civility and sense of humility, Secretary Panetta has earned the admiration of the entire nation.
CSPC would like to thank those who made the evening possible:
Kelly and Robert Day
Avery and Andrew Barth
The Crown Family