Medal of Freedom to 21 artists, athletes, others

Presidential Medal of Freedom is highest US civilian honor

President Barack Obama bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom on 21 Americans, including Tom Hanks (background) at the White House, November 22, 2016 (CBSN)
President Barack Obama bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom on 21 Americans, including Tom Hanks (background) at the White House, November 22, 2016 (CBSN)

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.

Robert Redford poses for photographers during a photocall at the Ritz Hotel, in Madrid, Monday, Nov. 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)
Robert Redford poses for photographers during a photocall at the Ritz Hotel, in Madrid, Monday, Nov. 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)

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

Actress, comedian, and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, glances at President Barack Obama as she is presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Actress, comedian, and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, glances at President Barack Obama as she is presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

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.

 

Vin Scully
Los Angeles Dodgers Hall of Fame announcer Vin Scully sits in his booth during the third inning of a baseball game between the Dodgers and the Chicago Cubs, Friday, Aug. 28, 2015, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)