President Barack Obama awarded the United States highest civilian award ‘Presidential Medal of Freedom’ to 21 outstanding actors, musicians, athletes and innovators who inspired him over the years on November 22, 2016 in the White House East Room.
- Mr. Obama has given more Presidential Medals of Freedom than any previous President of the nation. He has awarded about 114 individuals with the honorary award. This was his final presentation of the Presidential Medals of Freedom.
- The president said that the reason why these events are so special to him was because everybody receiving the award had touched him in a very powerful, personal way, in ways that they probably couldn’t imagine.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom
It is the highest civilian award of the United States which is presented by the President of the United States.
- It recognizes those people who have made an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private achievements.
- The award is not limited to U.S. citizens and, since it is a civilian award, it can also be awarded to military personnel and worn on the uniform.
Recipients of the Highest Civilian Award included:
- Tom Hanks, Robert De Niro, Robert Redford and Cicely Tyson from film world
- Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for being best Basketball Players
- Bruce Springsteen and Diana Ross were recognized for their music.
- Philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates.
- Comedian Ellen DeGeneres.
- Broadcaster Vin Scully. Of DeGeneres.
- Posthumous honors went to Native American advocate Elouise Cobell and Rear Adm. Grace Hopper who invented the first compiler for a computer programming language and was known as the first lady of software.
- Richard Garwin, an inventor and polymath physicist who made pioneering contributions to the nation’s defense.
- Frank Gehry, one of the world’s leading architects.
- Margaret H. Hamilton, a mathematician and computer scientist.
- Maya Lin, the designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
- Lorne Michaels, producer of “Saturday Night Live”
- Newton Minow, a former Federal Communications Commission chairman devoted to numerous public and charitable causes.
- Eduardo Padron, president of Miami Dade College.