So, what did you do with your day today? If it was anything other than receive the top civilian honor, a Medal of Freedom, from President Obama, your day probably wasn't as great as Oprah Winfrey's was: According to USA Today, Winfrey, former President Bill Clinton, feminist icon Gloria Steinam, baseball legend Ernie Smith, and twelve others were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, for their respective contributions to the world.
"These are men and women who in their extraordinary lives remind us all of the beauty of the human spirit," Obama said during the ceremony, which was held today at the White House.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom award was created 50 years ago by President John F. Kennedy under Executive Order 9586, in an effort to honor individuals who have made "an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors." Other recipients include:
- Mother Teresa for her contribution to religion
- Former United Kingdom Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for her contribution to politics.
- Norman Rockwell for his legendary illustrations
- Georgia O'Keeffe for her contributions to art
- Walt Disney for founding The Walt Disney Company
- Audrey Hepburn for her contributions to entertainment
- Sir Sidney Poitier, who became the first black person to win an Academy Award
- Maya Angelou for her contributions to art and literature
- Frank Sinatra for his contributions to music
- Warren Buffett, the most successful investor of the 20th century
- Bill Cosby for his contributions to entertainment
- Janet Rowley, the first scientist to discover a chromosomal translocation as being the cause of leukemia
- César Chávez for his civil rights work and activism
...and that's just to name a few. In other words, Winfrey, Clinton and co. are in great company.
You can check out footage of today's ceremony below.
[via USA Today]