NECO, the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations, held its 25th annual Ellis Island Medal of Honor ceremony and black tie gala this past Saturday, May 7, in the Great Hall on Ellis Island. The emotional ceremony enhanced everyone’s patriotism, especially since it was during the same week that Osama Bin Laden was killed.
This medal has been newly designed for the 25th anniversary by Dr. Khavarani. The red ribbon now represents the bloodshed in maintaining freedom, the blue center is the world we share, the blazing torch is symbolized as the gifts immigrants have brought to America, the lone star represents the individual, and the fifty pyramids are the fifty states that are connected at the base.
NECO was founded on the principle that the cultural diversity is what makes America’s melting pot so colorful. Its purpose is to honor and preserve the unique cultures, foster tolerance, and establish respect for everyone, regardless of your background. Each year, NECO sponsors this event, which is to pay homage to everyone. The honorees of this event are Americans who demonstrate qualities that far exceed superior in their personal and professional lives.
Past medalists include six Presidents, Nobel Prize Winners, and influential leaders of education, the arts, sports, government, and industry. The 2011 Medal of Honor recipients included: Jerry Lewis, Doris Roberts, Sal Cassano, James Comley, Ken Kendrick, Jr., Don Shula, John O’Hurley, Admiral Bruce DeMars, Colonel Matthew Bogdanos, and Captain Linda Fagan.