Yesterday (May 29) President Obama presented author Toni Morrison and several other deserving recipients with the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom, during a ceremony at the White House. The medal is presented to individuals who have made “meritorious contributions to the national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to other significant endeavors, and this year’s recipients included a diverse group of Americans.
In addition to Morrison, who is the first African American to win the Nobel Prize for literature, the President also honored former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, astronaut and former Ohio Sen. John Glenn, basketball coach Pat Summitt, rock legend Bob Dylan, former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens; Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts; former president of Israel Shimon Peres; John Doar, who handled civil rights cases as assistant attorney general in the 1960s; William Foege, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who was an instrument leader in the effort to eliminate smallpox; Gordon Hirabayashi, who fought the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II; Jan Karski, a resistance fighter against the Nazi occupation of Poland during World War II; and Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the National Farmworkers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers of America.
President Obama spoke to the influence of the awardees saying they had a “packed house, which is testament to how cool this group is.”
We agree. Congrats Toni!