President Obama official schedule and guidance, May 29, 2012. Medal of FreedomContinue reading.
Obama to deliver “Medal of Freedom” to Oprah, Ernie Banks, Bill Clinton, Lugar, Gloria Steinem, Loretta Lynn
WASHINGTON–Two Chicago icons–Oprah Winfrey and Ernie Banks were among 16 tapped by President Barack Obama on Thursday to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, according to a White House official. Click HERE for the story.
Among the others receiving the honor are former President Bill Clinton, author Gloria Steinem legendary former Washington Post former executive editor Ben Bradlee, singer Loretta Lynn, former Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and civil rights leader Cordy Tindell “C.T.” Vivian, who was raised in central Illinois.
Below, the complete list of honorees…..
This will be Winfrey’s second Obama-era honor. Click HERE for Obama’s 2010 speech at the Kennedy Center honorees reception at the White House. Winfrey was honored along with Paul McCartney, Merle Haggard and Jerry Herman.
What Obama said about Winfrey in 2010 may foreshadow his 2013 remarks.
Obama about Winfrey, 2010:
And what can I say about our final honoree? Michelle and I love Oprah Winfrey. Personally love this woman. And the more you know Oprah, the more spectacular you realize her character and her soul are, and the more you appreciate what a wonderful, gifted person she is.
It’s easy to forget sometimes that Oprah was once a girl with a funny name in a little town down South. Back then, nobody would have ever dreamed that she would become someone who moves an entire nation each and every day. But the signs were there.
After two days of kindergarten, Oprah wrote a note to her teacher that read: “I don’t think I belong here because I know a lot of big words.” Her teacher agreed, and she moved on to first grade.
And while she was working as a reporter in Baltimore, Oprah was told she was “too engaged” and “too emotional” about her stories, so the station put her on a talk show to run out her contract. That worked well. How’s payback? That planted the seed for what would become the highest-rated talk show in American television history.
Oprah’s gift — as a host, as a producer, as an Oscar-nominated actress — has always been her ability to relate to her audience — to laugh with us, to cry with us, to draw us in and connect our most fervent hopes and deepest fears to her own. The reason we share ourselves with Oprah is because she shares herself with us. Her childhood of abuse. Her personal battles. Her life as a woman, as an African American, as someone who is determined to confront both great injustices of the world and the private struggles of everyday life.
She has taught us to find strength in overcoming; to take a stand for ourselves and what we know is right. And she has shown millions of people around the world — people she probably will never meet — what it means to believe in “the dream of your own life.” Oprah Winfrey.
BELOW, FROM THE WHITE HOUSE….
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 8, 2013
President Obama Names Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipients
2013 Marks 50th Anniversary of President Kennedy’s Establishment of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
WASHINGTON – Today, President Barack Obama named sixteen recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors. The awards will be presented at the White House later this year.
This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Executive Order signed by President John F. Kennedy establishing the Presidential Medal of Freedom, as well as the first ceremony bestowing the honor on an inaugural class of 31 recipients. Since that time, more than 500 exceptional individuals from all corners of society have been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
President Obama said, “The Presidential Medal of Freedom goes to men and women who have dedicated their own lives to enriching ours. This year’s honorees have been blessed with extraordinary talent, but what sets them apart is their gift for sharing that talent with the world. It will be my honor to present them with a token of our nation’s gratitude.”
The following individuals will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom:
Known to many as “Mr. Cub,” Ernie Banks is one of the greatest baseball players of all time. During his 19 seasons with the Chicago Cubs, he played in 11 All-Star Games, hit over 500 home runs, and became the first National League player to win Most Valuable Player honors in back-to-back years. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977, his first year of eligibility.
Ben Bradlee is one of the most respected newsmen of his generation. During his tenure as executive editor of The Washington Post, Mr. Bradlee oversaw coverage of the Watergate scandal, successfully challenged the Federal Government over the right to publish the Pentagon Papers, and guided the newspaper through some of its most challenging moments. He also served in the Navy during World War II.
President Clinton was the 42nd President of the United States. Before taking office, he served as Governor and Attorney General of the State of Arkansas. Following his second term, President Clinton established the Clinton Foundation to improve global health, strengthen economies, promote health and wellness, and protect the environment. He also formed the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund with President George W. Bush in 2010.
Daniel Inouye (posthumous)
Daniel Inouye was a lifelong public servant. As a young man, he fought in World War II with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, for which he received the Medal of Honor. He was later elected to the Hawaii Territorial House of Representatives, the United States House of Representatives, and the United States Senate. Senator Inouye was the first Japanese American to serve in Congress, representing the people of Hawaii from the moment they joined the Union.
Daniel Kahneman is a pioneering scholar of psychology. After escaping Nazi occupation in World War II, Dr. Kahneman immigrated to Israel, where he served in the Israel Defense Forces and trained as a psychologist. Alongside Amos Tversky, he applied cognitive psychology to economic analysis, laying the foundation for a new field of research and earning the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002. He is currently a professor at Princeton University.
Richard Lugar represented Indiana in the United States Senate for more than 30 years. An internationally respected statesman, he is best known for his bipartisan leadership and decades-long commitment to reducing the threat of nuclear weapons. Prior to serving in Congress, Senator Lugar was a Rhodes Scholar and Mayor of Indianapolis from 1968 to 1975. He currently serves as President of the Lugar Center.
Loretta Lynn is a country music legend. Raised in rural Kentucky, she emerged as one of the first successful female country music vocalists in the early 1960s, courageously breaking barriers in an industry long dominated by men. Ms. Lynn’s numerous accolades include the Kennedy Center Honors in 2003 and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.
Mario Molina is a visionary chemist and environmental scientist. Born in Mexico, Dr. Molina came to America to pursue his graduate degree. He later earned the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for discovering how chlorofluorocarbons deplete the ozone layer. Dr. Molina is a professor at the University of California, San Diego; Director of the Mario Molina Center for Energy and Environment; and a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.
Sally Ride (posthumous)
Sally Ride was the first American female astronaut to travel to space. As a role model to generations of young women, she advocated passionately for science education, stood up for racial and gender equality in the classroom, and taught students from every background that there are no limits to what they can accomplish. Dr. Ride also served in several administrations as an advisor on space exploration.
Bayard Rustin (posthumous)
Bayard Rustin was an unyielding activist for civil rights, dignity, and equality for all. An advisor to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., he promoted nonviolent resistance, participated in one of the first Freedom Rides, organized the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, and fought tirelessly for marginalized communities at home and abroad. As an openly gay African American, Mr. Rustin stood at the intersection of several of the fights for equal rights.
Arturo Sandoval is a celebrated jazz trumpeter, pianist, and composer. Born outside Havana, he became a protégé of jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie and gained international acclaim as a dynamic performer. He defected to the United States in 1990 and later became an American citizen. He has been awarded nine Grammy Awards and is widely considered one of the greatest living jazz artists.
Dean Smith was head coach of the University of North Carolina basketball team from 1961 to 1997. In those 36 years, he earned 2 national championships, was named National Coach of the Year multiple times, and retired as the winningest men’s college basketball coach in history. Ninety-six percent of his players graduated from college. Mr. Smith has also remained a dedicated civil rights advocate throughout his career.
Gloria Steinem is a renowned writer and activist for women’s equality. She was a leader in the women’s liberation movement, co-founded Ms. magazine, and helped launch a wide variety of groups and publications dedicated to advancing civil rights. Ms. Steinem has received dozens of awards over the course of her career, and remains an active voice for women’s rights.
Cordy Tindell “C.T.” Vivian
C.T. Vivian is a distinguished minister, author, and organizer. A leader in the Civil Rights Movement and friend to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., he participated in Freedom Rides and sit-ins across our country. Dr. Vivian also helped found numerous civil rights organizations, including Vision, the National Anti-Klan Network, and the Center for Democratic Renewal. In 2012, he returned to serve as interim President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
Patricia Wald is one of the most respected appellate judges of her generation. After graduating as 1 of only 11 women in her Yale University Law School class, she became the first woman appointed to the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, and served as Chief Judge from 1986-1991. She later served on the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague. Ms. Wald currently serves on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.
Oprah Winfrey is one of the world’s most successful broadcast journalists. She is best known for creating The Oprah Winfrey Show, which became the highest rated talk show in America for 25 years. Ms. Winfrey has long been active in philanthropic causes and expanding opportunities for young women. She has received numerous awards throughout her career, including the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award in 2002 and the Kennedy Center Honors in 2010.