Bob Dylan, 12 Others Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom
Created: 2012-05-30 13:41 EST
US President Barack Obama presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to musician Bob Dylan on May 29, 2012 in the White House in Washington. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GettyImages)
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, astronaut John Glenn and singer Bob Dylan were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, on Tuesday afternoon.
Thirteen luminaries received the highest civilian honor from US President Barack Obama in a ceremony at the White House. Each had the blue-ribbon medal.
Obama said the honorees “have moved us with their words and inspired us with their actions.”
The White House praised Bob Dylan as one of “the most influential American musicians of the 20th century.” He has a recording career spanning five decades, has won 11 Grammys and was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2009.
Madeleine Albright became the 64th Secretary of State after being appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1996. Unanimously confirmed by the US Senate, she was the first woman to hold the position and the highest-ranking woman in the US government.
John Glenn represented Ohio in the US Senate for four terms, but is perhaps best known as an astronaut. A former US Marine Corps pilot, he was the first American to orbit Earth, circling the globe three times in 1962 aboard Friendship 7.
The medal, reestablished by President John F Kennedy in 1963 to replace the medal founded by President Harry S Truman, can be bestowed to “any person who has made an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, or world peace, or cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
As such, the recipients ranged from various fields. Others honored at the ceremony included NCAA basketball coach Pat Summitt, novelist Toni Morrison and epidemiologist William Foege.