The Presidential Medal of Freedom is presented to individuals recognized for "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."
Here is a complete list of today's recipients:
- President George H.W. Bush
- German Chancellor Angela Merkel
- Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga.
- John H. Adams, co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council
- Poet Maya Angelou
- Investor Warren Buffett
- Artist Jasper Johns
- Holocaust survivor and author Gerda Weissmann Klein
- Dr. Tom Little, an optometrist and aid worker killed by the Taliban in Afghanistan
- Cellist Yo-Yo Ma
- Civil rights activist Sylvia Mendez
- Baseball legend Stan Musial
- Basketball legend Bill Russell
- Jean Kennedy Smith, sister of President John F. Kennedy and founder of VSA, the International Organization on Arts and Disability
- John J. Sweeney, former AFL-CIO president
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