Rocker Bruce Springsteen and actors Robert De Niro and Tom Hanks are among the 21 recipients of this year’s Presidential Medal of Freedom, the White House announced Wednesday.
In a press release, the White House announced it would award nearly two dozen celebrities, tech entrepreneurs and sports stars with the Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor.
The awards are given 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.”
Also named to be honored Wednesday were comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, actor Robert Redford, singer Diana Ross, NBA legends Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Jordan, tech entrepreneurs and philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates, architect Frank Gehry and Saturday Night Live executive producer Lorne Michaels.
“The Presidential Medal of Freedom is not just our nation’s highest civilian honor – it’s a tribute to the idea that all of us, no matter where we come from, have the opportunity to change this country for the better,” President Obama said in a statement accompanying the announcement. “From scientists, philanthropists, and public servants to activists, athletes, and artists, these 21 individuals have helped push America forward, inspiring millions of people around the world along the way.”
Other honorees include Los Angeles Dodgers announcer Vin Scully, NASA mathematician and computer scientist Margaret H. Hamilton, sculpture artist Maya Lin, actress Cicely Tyson, physicist Richard Garwin, Miami Dade College President Eduardo Padrón, attorney Newt Minow, the late computer science pioneer Grace Hopper and the late Native American activist Elouise Cobell.
The honorees will receive their awards at a ceremony at the White House on November 22.
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