The White House has announced the list of seventeen recipients who will receive the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Medal will be presented in a ceremony at the White House next Thursday.
The list includes individuals from different fields including lawmakers, social activists, athletes and senators. Read on to know the complete list of recipients.
Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipients
The list of recipients includes former Executive Director of NETWORK and member of the Sisters of Social Service Sister Simone Campbell; Gold Star father and Constitution Literacy and National Unity Center. Founder Khizr Khan; and civil rights advocate and former CEO of National Council of La Raza, Raúl Yzaguirre.
Former lawmakers Rep. Gabby Giffords and late Sen. John McCain will also be presented with the award. After surviving a mass shooting in 2011, Gabby Giffords emerged as a vocal advocate for gun safety laws. McCain, who died in 2018 was a long-time Senator and also a Vietnam war veteran.
From the athletic world, Olympic gold medalist gymnast Simon Biles, and two-time Women’s World Soccer Cup champion Megan Rapinoe will be presented with the medal.
The list also includes Brigadier General Wilma Vaught, one of the most celebrated women of USA military; Dr, Julieta García, the first Hispanic women president of The University of Texas; and Sandra Lindsay, a critical care nurse from New York who served at the frontline during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The medal will also be presented to Father Alexander Karloutsos, Vicar General of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America; Fred Gray, one of the first black members of the Alabama State legislature who also represented Martin Luther King; and Diane Nash, one of the founders of Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
Other notable recipients of the medal include the late Steve Jobs, the founder and former CEO of Apple; Denzel Washington, two-time Academy award winner actor-director; late Richard Trumka, former president of the United Mine Workers, and secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO; and Alan Simpson, a U.S. Senator from Wyoming known for his work towards marriage equality and responsible governance.
The White House Releases Statement
Announcing the names of the recipients, the White House in its statement said, “These seventeen Americans demonstrate the power of possibilities and embody the soul of the nation – hard work, perseverance, and faith.”
“They have overcome significant obstacles to achieve impressive accomplishments in the arts and sciences, dedicated their lives to advocating for the most vulnerable among us, and acted with bravery to drive change in their communities – and across the world – while blazing trails for generations to come,” the statement read further.
It is worth noting that Biden himself has been a recipient of the award during President Obama’s tenure in 2017.
Nation’s Highest Civilian Honor
The Presidential Medal of Freedom, along with the Congressional Gold Medal, is the Nation’s Highest Civilian Honor. It is conferred to 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 endeavors.’
President John F. Kennedy introduced the in 1963, succeeding President Harry S. Truman’s Medal of Freedom, which was established in 1945 to commemorate civilian service during World War II.
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