by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg after receiving the US Department of Defense's Medal for distinguished Public Service

  • 08 Jul. 2024 -
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  • Last updated: 08 Jul. 2024 17:44

(As delivered)

Secretary Austin, dear Lloyd.
Ladies and gentlemen.

Thank you for awarding me this medal for distinguished public service.
I am truly honoured to accept it.

But this honour is not only mine.

It is also for the thousands of civilians who serve at NATO Headquarters,
and at our bodies and agencies across the Alliance.

It is also for the thousands of men and women in uniform,
who serve shoulder-to-shoulder under the NATO flag.

Earlier today I laid a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery.
To pay tribute to all those who served and in particular to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

This award honours everything that we have achieved together as an Alliance.
Over the last seventy-five years.

The Medal of Distinguished Public Service comes from an extraordinary institution.
The US Department of Defense.
And from an extraordinary American.
Secretary Austin, dear Lloyd.

Lloyd, you have been a true colleague and a true friend since we spoke on the 22 of January 2021.
Just hours after you were appointed as Secretary of Defense.

This was your first phone call overseas in your new post.
And we have been through a lot together since then. 

Your steadfast commitment to NATO is vital for our security.
And for Ukraine’s. 
Your extraordinary energy has rallied over 50 countries to Ukraine’s side.   

Today, Ukrainians are bravely defending their freedom, thanks to our support.
And NATO has become bigger, stronger, and more capable than in decades. 

This is in no small part thanks to you.
And your dedication.
Always putting service over self.

So thank you for your personal support and leadership.
And for all the hard work of your incredible team here at the Department of Defense.

It makes us all stronger and safer.

Here at our Summit in Washington, I look forward to continuing to strengthen NATO in the future.
To keep our thirty-two nations strong.
And our one billion people safe.

So Lloyd, thank you so much once again.

It's a great honour to receive this medal.

Thank you.