August 12th, 2009
04:22 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama honors sixteen with Presidential Medal of Freedom

Actor Sidney Poitier was among the sixteen individuals honored by the president at the White House Wednesday.
Actor Sidney Poitier was among the sixteen individuals honored by the president at the White House Wednesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama on Wednesday presented 16 people - including scientists, activists, actors, an athlete and a preacher - with the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

"This is a chance for me and for the United States of America to say thank you to some of the finest citizens of this country and of all countries," Obama told the audience assembled for the ceremony at the White House.

Watch: Obama says 'thank you'

"At a moment when cynicism and doubt too often prevail, when our obligations to one another are too often forgotten, when the road ahead can seem too long or hard to tread, these extraordinary men and women, these agents of change, remind us that excellence is not beyond our abilities, that hope lies around the corner and that justice can still be won in the forgotten corners of this world," the president said.

"They remind us that we each have it within our powers to fulfill dreams, to advance the dreams of others and to remake the world for our children."

The Presidential Medal of Freedom, an annual award, was created after World War II when President Harry Truman wanted to honor civilian service during the war.

Related: Sixteen to receive Presidential Medal of Freedom


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Mike, FL

    Republicans are such a low life sore losers that they even complain about something that we should all be proud off!

    All of them have a very inspiring life story, but then again GOP’s are only good at being hateful towards people who don’t think or look like them!

    August 12, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
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