John Lewis receives Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011. (File photo - Wikipedia Commons)

Nov 16, 2016 3:03 PM

President Obama honors 21 recipients with nation's highest civilian honor

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Barack Obama named the 21 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Wednesday for those who have made merit-worthy contributions for the good of our country.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the nation's highest civilian honor, and is presented to those who have made 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 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," according to President Barack Obama. "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."

The individuals being honored vary from athletes and actors to philanthropists and advocates.

The following individuals will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom: Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Elouise Cobell, Ellen DeGeneres, Robert Di Niro, Richard Garwin, Bill and Melinda Gates, Frank Gehry, Margaret H. Hamilton, Tom Hanks, Grace Hopper, Michael Jordan, Maya Lin, Lorne Michaels, Newt Minow, Eduardo Padrón, Robert Redford, Diana Ross, Vin Scully, Bruce Springsteen, and Cicely Tyson.

The awards will be presented at the White House on Nov. 22.

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