President Obama announced today that Bob Dylan, John Glenn, and 11 other United States’ civilians will receive the Medal of Freedom.
The White House said that 13 people will be receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, at a ceremony at the White House this spring.
“These extraordinary honorees come from different backgrounds and different walks of life, but each of them has made a lasting contribution to the life of our nation. They’ve challenged us, they’ve inspired us, and they’ve made the world a better place. I look forward to recognizing them with this award.”
Bob Dylan, a legendary singer; Madeleine Albright, the first female Secretary of State; John Doar, a civil rights leader; John Glenn, the third American in space and the first to orbit earth, William Foege, the doctor who eradicated smallpox; Gordon Hirabayashi, who denounced the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II; Toni Morrison, author of Song of Solomon, Jazz, and Beloved;Dolores Huerta, a civil rights, women’s rights, and worker’s advocate; Jan Karski, an officer of the Polish Underground during World War II; Juliette Gordon Low, who founded the Girl Scouts; Shimon Peres, the President of Israel; John Paul Stevens, a former Supreme Court Justice; and Pat Summitt, former women’s basketball coach at the University of Tennessee.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is given to an individual who has made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
John Wayne, John Steinbeck, Count Basie, Frank Sinatra, Ansel Adams, Warren Buffet, Walter Cronkite, Betty Ford, have all received the award. Ellsworth Bunker, John Kenneth Galbraith, and Colin Powell, have been given the award twice.