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President Obama, Secretary Clinton and Deputy Secretary Burns Honor Wallenberg Legacy
2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Raoul Wallenberg. The United States joins Sweden in celebrating this international hero.
On Thursday, July 26, President Barack Obama signed the Raoul Wallenberg Centennial Celebration Act, which will posthumously bestow the Congressional Gold Medal to Raoul Wallenberg. The award, which is the highest civilian honor given by the U.S. Congress, marks Wallenberg’s “achievements and heroic actions during the Holocaust.”
In April, President Obama delivered a video message to honor Wallenberg’s courage and bravery. The message was broadcast at Kulturhuset in Stockholm during ceremonies to honor victims of the holocaust. Earlier this year, Secretary of State Clinton and Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt penned an op-ed that appeared in the International Herald Tribune and in Svenska Dagbladet. In the piece, they noted that it is “incumbent on us to pass on his story to those who come after us not as part of a distant heroic myth, but as an example of the values that should inform the way we live our lives. “
The U.S. Embassy in Stockholm also paid a lasting tribute to Wallenberg in May when Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and Ambassador Mark Brzezinski joined Nina Lagergren, the sister of Raoul Wallenberg and Kate Wacz, who was rescued by Wallenberg, to plant a red horse chestnut tree and unveil a plaque in Nobelparken honoring his legacy.
Commenting on the Congressional Gold Medal, Ambassador Brzezinski said, “The importance of not being indifferent remains a timely and relevant principle. By bestowing this highest U.S. Congress civilian honor to Raoul Wallenberg, we celebrate his exceptional heroism.”
Text of the Raoul Wallenberg Centennial Celebration Act