Former NFL player Steve Gleason receives Congressional Gold Medal

Former New Orleans Saints player and disability rights advocate Steve Gleason received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor Congress gives to a civilian.
6:10 | 01/15/20

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Transcript for Former NFL player Steve Gleason receives Congressional Gold Medal
Hi there everyone. Thank views speaker Pelosi. Leaders McConnell all Schumer and McCarthy. Senators Cassidy and murdering representatives. Richmond and skull he's. And all members of congress. All cell thank you for coming to DC and speaking to date through. Just so everyone knows today's cruise birthday. So drew let me wish you a very capital happy birthday brother. This award. From the elected officials who ran president the people of the United States of America. Is this sublime honor for me. But I feel that more importantly. I feel that this under represented some joint encouragement. And even try and for the tens of thousands of extraordinary families currently enduring life would payless. Also the millions of extraordinary people in this country living with disabilities or other illness. And more broadly. All of you ordinary humans who experience adversity. Tragedy. Court. Language. No one is immune from anguish. Tragedy. Or adversity. Not even know elected officials. NFL players or even the most holy saints. I suppose I don't see my story is of football story. Or even and they honest story would rather I don't human story. The truth is that we've all experienced pain in our lives. But I believe that the problems we face our opportunity. And to find our human purpose. I believe that diversity is our opportunity to keep exploring because we will of face paying. And tragedy. But it's clear to me that beyond the human capacity of imagination. Our greatest strength. As a species. Has been our ability to brave Li's share our weaknesses and vulnerabilities with each other. Doing that were able to understand each other's issues and collaborate together to solve problems. And overcome any obstacle. While sharing one's weaknesses may not be common practice for people especially for politicians in an election year. Wing link. Sharing my own weaknesses was entirely critical for me to play appears in the NFL. And it has been unquestionably. Critical to my survival and purpose for the past nine years. Living with the disease is dreadfully beautiful as pale ales. I am grateful to the literally thousands of people who have directly uplifted me. Both emotionally and physically in my 42 years. Most importantly. I'm grateful to my parents. For instilling in me many of the values I have used to be successful. And of course my wife Michelle. This is not the life we imagine. And it hasn't been easy but through communication. And compassion. We're carving out an awesome existence. In addition to having the understanding. That I had to share my own weaknesses to survive and succeed. I'm fortunate to have a motivation and the reason to live. Our son rivers and our doctor grade. They give me purpose the purpose of a lifetime that. Some of you made disagree. But I believe there has been no greater time in history. To be a human. At the same time. I don't think anyone here or anyone watching will disagree that we as a country and more appropriately. We as a global species. Face enormous challenges in the coming decades of the 21 century. Challenges like exploring and colonizing other planets. Or thoughtfully solving climate change or the challenges of genetically engineering super humans. Or positively harnessing the seemingly miraculous power of artificial intelligence. So people's disabilities. Are turn into super abilities. These challenges provide us with an exponential. Opportunity. As Americans. And as humans. Because if we can keep exploring and share our weaknesses with each other and compassion and league collaborate to solve problems. Our human potential is boundless. If we can work to understand and solve each other's problems. And each other's pain compassionate Lee spent truly. All things are possible. Thank you get to the people of the United States of America a nation I'm so proud to live in for this unbelievable honor. Have a wonderful day.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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