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Former Attorney General Edwin Meese, upon receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House, praised the many people who helped him throughout his life—notably a future president named Ronald Reagan.
Meese was deputy district attorney for Alameda County, California, when Gov. Ronald Reagan hired the lawyer as his legal affairs secretary in 1967. Over the next dozen years, Meese would become a Reagan confidant who served first as the new president’s counselor in 1981 and, in his second term, as attorney general.
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“Ronald Reagan was a pivotal part of my life, and I am always grateful to him,” Meese said after President Donald Trump put the medal around his neck Tuesday during an Oval Office ceremony.
Of receiving the highest civilian honor, Meese said: “It’s just a great privilege that I appreciate very much, and appreciate all that you have done to make us welcome here, and, as I say, for those kind words.”
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Meese, 87, was joined by his wife of 61 years, Ursula, as well as numerous other family members, former associates, and Trump administration officials during the White House ceremony.
“Ed, you are a loyal fighter for freedom, a champion of law and order, mentor to young Americans, and faithful defender of our Republic,” Trump said, adding:
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You are an inspiration to liberty-loving citizens everywhere. You’re just an inspiration, period. Everybody that knows you uses that word: You’re an inspiration. On behalf of a grateful nation that I love and that we serve, I want to thank you. I want to thank you for your incredible lifetime of exceptional service and of devotion to our country.
Meese, who joined The Heritage Foundation in 1989, is currently the leading think tank’s Ronald Reagan distinguished fellow emeritus. Heritage’s Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, which Meese directed for years, is now...
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