WASHINGTON—This afternoon, leaders of the U.S. House and Senate presented a Congressional Gold Medal in honor of the members of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS)—a precursor to the CIA—for their extraordinary contributions to victory in World War II. Prior to the presentation of the Medal, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) made the following remarks, as prepared for delivery:

It is now time for the presentation of the Medal, a moment that I know so many of you have been working toward for so long. 

This is just incredible, isn’t it?

When you think about how high the stakes were, and how nothing like this had ever been tried before…

But Bill Donovan said, 'go ahead and try it.'

And it worked. It worked brilliantly.

The OSS may seem like something out of the movies, and yes, some of its members were.

But there are certain roles that only history can cast.

What else could have brought together such far-fetched ideas and far-flung people?

What other enterprise would have Julia Child developing a recipe for shark repellent?

Or Virginia Hall, who lost her leg before the war, but still operated behind enemy lines in occupied France, transmitting messages using a radio that looked like a suitcase.

Or Jumpin’ Joe Savoldi, who played for Knute Rockne at Notre Dame, and was tasked with extracting secret Nazi documents from Rome.

For all the household names, there are countless others we will never know.

All of these patriots worked to protect America and democracy itself.

They passed on a sense of duty and daring to today’s intelligence professionals.

They preserved the spirit of freedom of our children.

And so: for the men and women of the OSS, those Glorious Amateurs who struck a decisive blow to fascism, the United States Mint has struck a Gold Medal, which we present now on behalf of a grateful nation.