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Inclusion of the Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution is one of the most significant accomplishments in the history of the United States, if not all mankind, said President Gordon B. Hinckley, first counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Friday night.

President Hinckley, made his remarks at the Alta Club during the 95th Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet of The Utah Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, which honored him with its Silver Good Citizenship Medal.In making the presentation, Rodney H. Brady, president of Bonneville International Corp. and past president of the Utah Society SAR, said President Hinckley "personifies the qualities of a good citizen: respect for the Constitution and the law, love of the nation and its symbols, concern for the self-evident truths defined in the Declaration of Independence, active participation in self-government and devotion to the principles of freedom.

In his remarks, President Hinkley told society members that the Bill of Rights represents the "codification of the basic, inclusive and fundamental law of the liberties of the people, which our forefathers regarded as gifts from God and not gifts of government."

"These amendments prohibit the encroachment of government on these rights. We must never take them for granted. They are the very essence of the freedom which we describe as American. I regard it a miracle that we have them.

"To the Almighty, I express gratitude for the inspired Constitution of this nation, and thanks unbounded to its early citizens who so diligently fought for the inclusion of a Bill of Rights to safeguard the citizens from the oppression of government, preserving those basic and fundamental freedoms which are the very essence of liberty in the land we love."

Also honored were Dell Shepherd Ashworth, Patriot Medal; Ronald McKay Smith, Meritorious Service Medal; David Lyle Zolman, Meritorious Service Medal; and William Ray Ward, Meritorious Service Medal. All awards were presented by Utah Society President R. Bert Carter.

Ashworth, an architect, was presented the Patriot Medal for "his dedication to building our community, both temporally and spiritually."

Smith was honored for his diligent work in "making needed changes through the state legislature in order to protect the rights of citizens in dealing with their government."

Zolman was honored for "helping people learn who they are by learning about their ancestry." Zolman is a past president and chaplain of both the Salt Lake chapter and the Utah Society SAR.

Ward was described as a man of many talents - scholar, mariner, calligrapher, genealogist, journalist, editor, publisher, computer technologist, historian, professor and theologian.