President Barack Obama will be handing out the Medal of Freedom to Bill Clinton, Oprah, and fourteen other individuals. The White House released the list of people to receive the highest civilian honor on Thursday.
According to Obama, the Medal of Freedom goes to “men and women who have dedicated their own lives to enriching ours.” Although a lot of the people on the list do make a lot of sense, since members of the government are technically supposed to “enrich” our lives, including Oprah Winfrey among them was a little bit of a surprise to people.
Outside of Oprah and members of government, there were also activists and scientists listed to receive the Medal of Freedom including Daniel Kahneman, Maria Molina, and C.T. Vivian.
Since JFK created the modern version of the Medal of Freedom fifty years ago, more than 500 individual members of society have received it. Music stars and pop culture celebrities like Oprah are always interesting picks when they are included in the same category as scientists and members of the government, but they do add positive things to society in their own way.
All of the people chosen to receive the medal will be getting it later this year during a ceremony and will receive the medal directly from the President. However, there are some picks which have unfortunately died and will be awarded the medal posthumously.
Obama will honor Ben Bradlee who oversaw the Washington Post’s coverage of Watergate which led to the impeachment of Nixon. Sally Ride will also posthumously receive the award as a result of her accomplishments as the first woman in space.
Clinton will be specifically recognized during the ceremony not for his work as President but for his humanitarian deeds through the Clinton Foundation which strive to improve living conditions around the world.