May 24, 2011
On May 24, 2011, in honor of President Reagan’s Centennial Celebration, the Reagan Foundation hosted a Centennial Gala in Washington, D.C. During the event, the Ronald Reagan Centennial Freedom Award was bestowed upon former President of Poland Lech Walesa. Robert Gates, U.S. Secretary of Defense, and Liam Fox, MP, Secretary of State for Defense for the United Kingdom, both addressed the sold-out audience. The evening was emceed by Andrea Mitchell and Lawrence Kudlow.
During remarks, Liam Fox brought a message from former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who said she was “with the audience tonight in spirit on the momentous occasion of this wonderful man” and great president. Fox called Reagan and Thatcher “giants of history at a time when history needed giants.”
Secretary Gates quoted the 40th president on the importance of sustaining U.S. military power by saying, “As President Reagan once observed, of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the United States was too strong.”
Gates went on to say, “No one can predict the future or what impact today’s decisions will have over the next decades, he said, but history makes certain things clear. When America is willing to lead the way; when we live up to our responsibilities and stand with our allies, even in troubling times; when we prepare for threats … on … and beyond the horizon; and when we make the necessary sacrifices and take the necessary risks to defend our values and our interests, then great things are possible and even probable for our country and the world.”