The Ronald Reagan Freedom Award is the highest civilian honor bestowed by the private Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. The award is given to "those who have made monumental and lasting contributions to the cause of freedom worldwide."
Until her death, the award was given by Former First Lady Nancy Reagan on behalf of her husband, who died in June 2004. The award was first given in 1992, by President Ronald Reagan himself, as well as in 1993, but in 1994 Mrs. Reagan presented the award instead of her husband. Ronald Reagan had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease a few months before, and was not able to attend the ceremony.
In order to receive the award, the potential recipient must "have made monumental and lasting contributions to the cause of freedom worldwide," as well as "embody President Reagan's lifelong belief that one man or woman truly can make a difference."
Former President George H. W. Bush, who was awarded the medal on February 6, 2007, which would have been Ronald Reagan's 96th birthday, remarked, "I wish I had a little Ronald Reagan in me when it came to communicating with the American people. Had I been blessed with my predecessor's remarkable skill, who knows? I might still be employed." On a more serious note, he said later in the speech: "Working with Ronald Reagan was one of the greatest joys of my life." Bush served as Reagan's Vice President for the eight years that Reagan was President.