WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama awarded the nation’s highest civilian honor to 21 groundbreaking actors, musicians, athletes and others during a ceremony Tuesday at the White House.
Among those who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom: actors Tom Hanks, Robert De Niro and Robert Redford.
Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, two of the best basketball players ever, are also among the honorees.
Bruce Springsteen and Diana Ross were recognized for their music.
Other honorees include philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates, comedian Ellen DeGeneres and broadcaster Vin Scully.
Obama says the people receiving the medal helped push America forward and inspired millions around the world.
The award recognizes especially meritorious contributions to the national interests of the United States, to its culture, or to other significant endeavors.
Ellen DeGeneres had trouble getting in
Who says Presidential Medal of Freedom honorees have to bring an ID to get into the White House?
Apparently, the Secret Service does, as comedian Ellen DeGeneres experienced a delay in getting into a ceremony in which she and 20 others were honored with the nation’s highest civilian award.
DeGeneres, sitting on a park bench before the ceremony, tweeted, “They haven’t let me in to the White House yet because I forgot my ID.” She added, “(hashtag)NotJoking.”
Not to worry: DeGeneres made it in time.
President Barack Obama said in honoring her that she has a way of making people laugh at something rather than someone, “except when I danced on her show.” Obama also praised her courage in coming out as gay nearly two decades ago.