SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- It was a quiet ceremony on Veterans Day at the Reagan Ranch Center of Young America's Foundation. There, the family and friends of William J. Casey gathered for the presentation of an award on his behalf from The Honourable Company of Freedom Fighters. The international organization's charter states it was "founded to recognize and honor individuals and groups which have fought for freedom, participatory government and against fascism, communism, moral relativity and terrorism in all their forms."
The citation for William J. Casey, who died in 1987, sums up a remarkable life of public service and American leadership and demonstrates the qualities revered by the organization's founders -- qualities that merit for Casey the organization's Medallion of Liberty. It reads in part:
"For conspicuous courage and fidelity in defense offreedom during service in the Office of Strategic Services during World War II, as Under Secretary of State and as Director of Central Intelligence in the struggle against totalitarian fascism and communist oppression. At the risk of life and health, William Joseph Casey selflessly devoted himself to the cause of liberty.
"To the extraordinary benefit of our nation, he committed his exceptional intellect, boundless energy and passion for freedom to aiding others in overthrowing oppression. His dedication, leadership and perseverance as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency for President Ronald Reagan were crucial to liberating hundreds of millions from tyranny in Europe, Latin America, Africa and Southwest Asia.
"Despite seemingly insurmountable bureaucratic, political and fiscal obstacles, he prevailed in rebuilding the intelligence capabilities of the United States, thereby immeasurably furthering our national interests and the security of our citizens. Endowed with strategic vision, extraordinary faith in God and a belief in the rectitude of America's role as a force for good in the world, he inspired his countrymen, our allies and those in captive nations to rise up against global communism."
The Honourable Company of Freedom Fighters bestowed this high honor to recognize William Joseph Casey's "long and intrepid service, his bold and gallant leadership, and his steadfast devotion to God and country."
Those phrases describe a great American who devoted a lifetime of service to our nation, and there is no doubt that he is deserving of this honor. However, they weren't nearly as powerful as the words of his daughter, Bernadette Casey-Smith, in accepting the award on her father's behalf.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.