The prestigious Thayer Award is given out annually by the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. As YNN's Jessica Chen reports, former Secretary of State Madeleine Abright was this year's recipient.
WEST POINT, N.Y. -- 4,400 cadets marched through The Plain field at West Point Thursday afternoon. It was all part of a celebration to honor Madeleine Albright, who was on campus to receive the prestigious Thayer Award.
The annual award is given out to people who demonstrate duty, honor, and country.
"Well I'm deeply honored to be getting this award," said Albright.
Albright is the former U.S. Secretary of State, and the first woman to hold this position. She is the award's 55th recipient.
"When I think about the other people that have gotten it and really what it signifies in terms of duty honor country, I think that's a message that should resound everywhere," said Albright.
Through receiving the award, Albright took the time to reflect on the world, which she said is now a safer place than 10 years ago.
"Osama Bin Laden is dead and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in Iraq it's over and Afghanistan, it's winding down," said Albright.
She said it's also important for Americans to look beyond our borders.
"We need to be looking outwards," she said. "We need to understand what our effects are internationally and what the effect of what is happening in other countries is in our way of life."
Although Albright believes the 16 day government shutdown has had a resounding negative effect on the U.S, she said, "I think it hurt us in many ways internationally."
She said it's important for Americans to take the motto of the Thayer award, 'Duty, Honor, Country' and instill it in our future leaders.
"I think the motto, the Duty Honor Country, I think is something that could be heard loud and clear," said Albright.
The Thayer Award has been presented annually since 1958.