By American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON - Four individuals who have supported America's military, including two retired officers and a television star, were among 23 people who received the Presidential Citizens Medal from President George W. Bush at a White House ceremony Dec. 10.
The Presidential Citizens Medal was established Nov. 13, 1969, to recognize U.S. citizens who have performed exemplary deeds of service for the nation. It is one of the highest honors the president can confer upon a civilian, second only to the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The White House prepared citations for each recipient:
Retired Army General Wayne A. Downing
Army Gen. Wayne Downing was an American hero who stepped forward to help defend our nation and uphold the ideals of our founding. He answered history's call with honor, decency and resolve, and he earned the respect and admiration of a grateful nation. The United States honors Wayne Downing for his selfless service that continues to inspire us as we work to advance peace and extend freedom around the world.
By devoting his time and talents to his fellow veterans, Arnold Fisher has helped America fulfill its obligations to those who have defended our freedom. His compassion and dedication to our military families reflect the best of the American spirit. The United States honors Arnold Fisher for his service to our country's veterans and their families and for demonstrating the generous and grateful heart of America.
Gary Sinise is a humanitarian and a patriot. Working alongside our military and reaching out a compassionate hand to Iraqi children, he is helping a society once brutalized by a tyrant to rebuild and realize the great blessings of liberty. He has also traveled the world to show America's gratitude to our service members. The United States honors Gary Sinise for his efforts to improve the human condition and his strong commitment to the selfless men and women who devote their lives to military service.
Retired Navy Adm. James D. Watkins
As a decorated military leader and innovative public servant, Navy Adm. James Watkins exemplifies the American ideals of courage, character and ingenuity. He has brought great skill and determination to all of his duties, and demonstrated a patriot's devotion to our country. The United States honors James Watkins for his distinguished and varied public service.