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Obama Names Medal of Freedom Nominees

  • VOA News

FILE - Presidential Medal of Freedom.

FILE - Presidential Medal of Freedom.

U.S. President Barack Obama has named 17 people to receive the Medal of Freedom, including politicians, baseball legends and entertainment stars.

President Obama said Monday he will present the medals, the nation's highest civilian honor, to those who "helped define our shared experience as Americans" at the White House on November 24.

The honorees include baseball players Willie Mays and the late Yogi Berra.

Recipients from the entertainment industry include film director Steven Spielberg, conductor Itzhak Perlman, and theater composer Stephen Sondheim. Several singers are among the honorees - Barbra Streisand, James Taylor, and Gloria and Emilio Estefan.

The politicians being honored include Senator Barbara Mikulski from Maryland, former head of the Environmental Protection Agency William Ruckelshaus, former Indiana Congressman Lee Hamilton, and the first African American congresswoman, Shirley Chisholm.

The others to be honored are veterans advocate Bonnie Carroll, NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, Indian tribal advocate Billy Frank, and civil rights leader Minoru Yasui.

Frank and Yasui, along with Berra and Chisholm, will receive the award posthumously.

The White House said Monday the awards are 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."

President Obama said, “I look forward to presenting these 17 distinguished Americans with our nation’s highest civilian honor. From public servants who helped us meet defining challenges of our time to artists who expanded our imaginations, from leaders who have made our union more perfect to athletes who have inspired millions of fans, these men and women have enriched our lives and helped define our shared experience as Americans.”

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