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2006 Sylvanus Thayer Award



A distinguished journalist and author who has fulfilled the roles of editor, domestic and international news reporter, war correspondent, television anchorman, host of television news specials, and historian, Thomas J. Brokaw has devoted a lifetime of service to his profession and in so doing, has profoundly benefited the Nation. In a professional career of more than forty years, he has kept the American people informed with steadfast devotion to the highest ideals of his calling and has thus proved himself an exemplar of West Point’s motto, "Duty, Honor, Country. "

Of particular note are his chapters in the great narrative of our Military’s valor and sacrifice. His two books on the "Greatest Generation, " his reporting from Afghanistan on the hunt for Al Qaeda, and his broadcasts from Iraq on the superb performance of American soldiers have contributed significantly to our country's high respect for its Armed Forces, both past and present, a respect that Tom Brokaw himself shares.

In 1787, Thomas Jefferson spoke thus on the importance of a free press:

The basis of our government being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.

More than 200 years later, freedom of the press retains its central importance to the vitality of American democracy, and Tom Brokaw has earned a place in the first rank of those who have wisely exercised, bolstered, and preserved that freedom. Accordingly, the Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy takes great pleasure in presenting the 2006 West Point Sylvanus Thayer Award to Thomas J. Brokaw.