President Obama honored 13 people today with the Medal of Freedom at a ceremony at the White House. Bob Dylan, Toni Morrison, Madeleine Albright, John Doar, William Foege, John Glenn, Gordon Hirabayashi, Dolores Huerta, Jan Karski, Juliette Gordon Low, Israeli President Shimon Peres, John Paul Stevens, and Pat Summitt received the award “for the great work they have done” and the “the incredible impact they have had” on the world.
Obama said that each Medal of Freedom recipient had personally touched his life.
“What’s wonderful about these events for me is so many of these people are my heroes individually. Everybody on this stage has marked my life in profound ways.”
To Morrison, Obama said:
“I remember reading (Morrison’s book) ‘Song of Solomon’ when I was a kid, and not just trying to figure out how to write, but also how to be and how to think.
To Dylan, Obama said:
“I remember listening to Bob Dylan in college and my world opening up, because he captured something about this country that was so vital.
The president also thanked Alrbight and Summit for being great role models for his girls. The president said:
“When I think about my two daughters, who are tall and gifted, and knowing that because of folks like Coach Summitt, they’re standing up straight and diving after loose balls and feeling confident and strong, then I understand that the impact that these people have had extends beyond to me. It will continue for generations to come.”
The Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian honor a person can attain. Past winners include Bob Dole, Warren Buffet, Jackie Robinson, Henry Kissinger, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King, Jr.