U.S. President Barack Obama has awarded the nation's highest civilian honor - the Presidential Medal of Freedom - to 16 Americans in a ceremony at the White House.
One of Mr. Obama's predecessors, John F. Kennedy, established the award 50 years ago to honor those who have made outstanding contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to other significant public or private endeavors.
The recipients this year include former president Bill Clinton, country music legend Loretta Lynn, renowned women's rights activist Gloria Steinem and television icon Oprah Winfrey.
Mr. Obama said this year's honorees are blessed with extraordinary talent, calling them the men and women whose values "define us as Americans" and whose potential "lives inside of all of us."
Three of the 16 Medals of Freedom were awarded posthumously.