Obama Names Presidential Medal Of Freedom Recipients (Full List)
President Obama Announces Presidential Medal Of Freedom Recipients For 2010
President Obama announced the 15 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Free for 2010 on Wednesday.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is considered the United States' highest civilian honor. A White House media release says the Presidential Medal of Freedom is presented to people "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 a White House ceremony early next year.
These outstanding honorees come from a broad range of backgrounds and they’ve excelled in a broad range of fields, but all of them have lived extraordinary lives that have inspired us, enriched our culture, and made our country and our world a better place. I look forward to awarding them this honor.”
President George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush was the 41st President of the United States. Prior to that, he was Vice President in the Reagan Administration, Director of Central Intelligence, Chief of the U.S. Liaison’s Office to the People’s Republic of China, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and a Member of the House of Representatives from the 7th District of Texas.
Chancellor Angela Merkel
Angela Merkel is the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany. She is the first woman and first East German to serve as Chancellor of a unified Germany, which this year marks its 20th anniversary. She has often said that freedom is the happiest experience of her life.
Congressman John Lewis
John Lewis is an American hero and a giant of the Civil Rights Movement. He served as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), helped to organize the first lunch-counter sit-in in 1959 at the age of 19, and was the youngest speaker at the 1963 March on Washington.
John H. Adams
John H. Adams co-founded the Natural Resources Defense Council in 1970. Adams served as Executive Director and, later, as president of the nonprofit environmental advocacy group until 2006.
Dr. Maya Angelou is a prominent and celebrated author, poet, educator, producer, actress, filmmaker, and civil rights activist, who is currently the Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University.
Warren Buffett is an American investor, industrialist, and philanthropist. He is one of the most successful investors in the world. Often called the “legendary investor Warren Buffett,” he is the primary shareholder, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.
American artist Jasper Johns has produced a distinguished body of work dealing with themes of perception and identity since the mid-1950s.
Gerda Weissmann Klein
Gerda Weissmann Klein is a Jewish Holocaust survivor who has written several books about her experiences. After Nazi Germany took over her homeland of Poland, Klein was separated from both her parents: they were sent to Auschwitz and she to a series of labor and concentration camps. In 1945, she was sent on a forced 350-mile death march to avoid the advance of Allied forces. She was one of the minority who survived the forced journey.
Dr. Tom Little (Posthumous)
Dr. Tom Little was an optometrist who was brutally murdered on August 6, 2010, by the Taliban in the Kuran Wa Munjan district of Badakhshan, Afghanistan, along with nine other members of a team returning from a humanitarian mission to provide vision care in the remote Parun valley of Nuristan.
Yo-Yo Ma is considered the world’s greatest living cellist, recognized as a prodigy since the age of five whose celebrity transcends the world of classical music. Born in Paris, Ma was a child prodigy who went on to study with Leonard Rose in New York. He made his Carnegie Hall debut at age nine.
Sylvia Mendez is a civil rights activist of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent. As an eight-year-old, her parents attempted to enroll Mendez in an all-white school in their community, but were denied entry at and were told to go to the school for Mexican children. Her father and other parents sued and prevailed.
Stan “The Man” Musial is a baseball legend and Hall of Fame first baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals. Musial played 22 seasons for the Cardinals from 1941 to 1963. A 24-time All-Star selection, Musial accumulated 3,630 hits and 475 home runs during his career.
Bill Russell is the former Boston Celtics’ Captain who almost single-handedly redefined the game of basketball. Russell led the Celtics to a virtually unparalleled string of eleven championships in thirteen years and was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player five times. The first African American to coach in the NBA—indeed he was the first to coach a major sport at the professional level in the United States.
In 1974, Jean Kennedy Smith founded VSA, a non-profit organization affiliated with the John F. Kennedy Center that promotes the artistic talents of children, youth and adults with disabilities.
John J. Sweeney
John J. Sweeney is the current President Emeritus of the AFL-CIO, and served as President of the AFL-CIO from 1995 to 2009.