President Barack Obama named Robert De Niro, Tom Hanks, Ellen DeGeneres, and 18 others recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Wednesday.
The medal is the nation’s highest civilian honor and recognizes individuals for their contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural endeavors. This year’s recipients represent a mix of artists, athletes, activists, scientists, philanthropists, and public servants. Lorne Michaels, Robert Redford, Diana Ross, and Cicely Tyson also made the list. The awards presentation will be at the White House on Nov. 22 and will be live-streamed.
Obama said in a statement, “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. 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.”
By Madeline Raynor