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‘To Secure These Rights, Governments Are Instituted…’

On Independence Day and throughout this year, we’re honoring and celebrating the people who excel in managing the institutions of government.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…

On a summer’s day in Philadelphia 243 years ago, a group of brave individuals signed their name to these words, pledging their allegiance to a new American democracy. After waging a war to defend these ideals, they set to work instituting a government that would live up to them.

Today, millions of federal employees are engaged in the process of administering a governing structure the founders would scarcely recognize. These public servants ensure the skies are safe, protect the environment, preserve national park lands for the use of current and future generations, advance cures for diseases, promote education, facilitate affordable housing, and defend American democracy at home and abroad.  

In all of these activities, the notion of protecting the inherent right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness remains at the core of what our nation’s dedicated civil servants do every day. That’s why in this, the 50th anniversary year of Government Executive, we have launched a new awards program to honor the best of the best in the federal government. 

The Theodore Roosevelt Government Leadership Awards and Government Hall of Fame celebrate distinguished civil servants who have demonstrated sustained high achievement and  unparalleled dedication to delivering on government’s promise to serve the American people.

We are now in the process of selecting honorees. After receiving hundreds of nominations, we’ve identified finalists in the six different categories of Leadership Awards. We’ve also developed a list of potential inductees into the inaugural Hall of Fame class. Winners will be chosen later this month by a selection committee made up of luminaries in public management. 

We’ll celebrate the honorees at a gala event at Washington National Cathedral on Sept. 19. Our emcee for the evening will be Margaret Brennan, moderator of CBS's Face the Nation. Dr. France Córdova, head of the National Science Foundation, will be addressing the audience at the event, and we'll be announcing several other high-profile federal speakers and presenters in the coming weeks.

As always, it remains our privilege to serve the people who serve their country so well.