Once each year, the Daughters of the American Revolution present the National DAR Medal of Honor to a recipient who exemplifies the principles of Leadership, Trustworthiness, Patriotism, and Service. On Saturday, March 17, the National Medal of Honor was presented by the DAR to the Honorable J. Clifford Wallace at the 110th California State DAR Annual Conference Celebration Event in Irvine, California.
The nomination was drafted by Kathleen Winchester, Honorary Regent and Historian, and submitted by the San Diego Chapter, DAR.
As a convert to the Church, Judge Wallace has served at many levels, including bishop, stake president, one of the original regional representatives and president of the San Diego California Temple where he currently serves as a temple sealer.
J. Clifford Wallace grew up near the Barrio Logan neighborhood of San Diego, home to working class families and refugees from the Mexican Revolution, with an immigrant alcoholic father, with little education; and a wonderful mother who struggled due to the hardships of life.
Judge Wallace describes his young self as an under-achiever, who never read a book until after high school but managed C's and D's by reading the cover. Aimless, with no prospects for college, he followed his brother’s example and joined the U.S. Navy. During his Navy years, Judge Wallace showed great promise and was offered an opportunity to attend the U.S. Naval Academy.
His fascination, however, was with the law. This passion for the law led him to decline the opportunity to attend the Naval Academy and return to San Diego where he enrolled as a veteran in San Diego State College. Following graduation, Judge Wallace was accepted by U.C. Berkeley Law.
Today, Judge J. Clifford Wallace is a federal appellate judge, an accomplished jurist, having been considered three times for the U.S. Supreme Court. He served as Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals where he currently serves with senior status. He was an originator of the American Inns of Court.
Now 89 years of age, Judge Wallace travels the world teaching the principles of law and court administration. He has carried this work to more than 60 countries
Prior to the celebration event, on Saturday night, Judge Wallace accompanied by his wife, Jenee Wallace, attended a private reception where he met with Beverly Moncrieff and other DAR dignitaries. Among those present were Treasurer General, Carol Oakley Jackson and State Regents Terri T. Mott, Arizona; Gloria J. Flathom, Illinois; Constance S. Plettner, Nebraska; Lynn W. Kinsell, Ph.D., Nevada; and Alice A. Miles, Oregon.
Jenee Wallace said, “I was overwhelmed by the deep patriotism of the members of the DAR, their dynamic commitment to learn and serve, and the leadership experience the DAR provides for women.”
Linda Winthers, the State Americanism Chair, gave the introduction of Judge Wallace and the National DAR Medal of Honor was presented to Wallace by the State Regent Beverly Roberson Moncrieff.
Accepting the award, Judge Wallace said, “Our Constitution is now over 200 years old. It is the longest living written constitution in the world. By way of comparison the average life of a written constitution in the world is 14 years. Why is it that this written Constitution has endured so long? Because it brought freedom to people, the basis of which was human life and democracy, to bring people closer to their own government, and to be able to go forward without those who had dictatorial power. It is a blessing to us because we had relatives who fought not only the enemies against those that would seek to provide us independence, but also went forward to draft this marvelous Constitution.
"Now why it is that people today believe that it is outdated? I don’t understand. The Constitution is a set of principles. And those principles were then used for you and your freedom. The Constitution was not to provide for the government but to protect people from government.”
Speaking of the award, Judge Wallace said, “I am honored and humbled to receive this significant recognition. I will try to live worthy of it and be a good example.”
The evening ended with a musical program which concluded with the audience joining in singing, “I am Proud to be An American.”