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WASHINGTON–On Wednesday, President Barack Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to a distinguished list of Americans..
The Medal of Freedom is the nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made 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. The medals will be presented at the White House in a morning ceremony.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the executive order signed by President John F. Kennedy establishing the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The following individuals were awarded:
Ernie Banks. Known to many as “Mr. Cub,” Banks is one of the greatest baseball players of all time. During his 19 seasons with the Chicago Cubs, he played in 11 all-star games, hit more than 500 home runs, and became the first National League player to win Most Valuable Player honors in back-to-back years. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977, his first year of eligibility.
Ben Bradlee is one of the most respected newsmen of his generation. During his tenure as executive editor of The Washington Post, Bradlee oversaw coverage of the Watergate scandal, successfully challenged the Federal Government over the right to publish the Pentagon Papers, and guided the newspaper through some of its most challenging moments. He also served in the Navy during World War II.
Bill Clinton. President Clinton was the 42nd President of the United States. Before taking office, he served as governor and attorney general of the state of Arkansas. Following his second term, President Clinton established the Clinton Foundation to improve global health, strengthen economies, promote health and wellness, and protect the environment. He also formed the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund with President George W. Bush in 2010.
Daniel Inouye (posthumous) was a lifelong public servant. As a young man, he fought in World War II with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, for which he received the Medal of Honor. He was later elected to the Hawaii Territorial House of Representatives, the United States House of Representatives, and the United States Senate. Senator Inouye was the first Japanese American to serve in Congress, representing the people of Hawaii from the moment they joined the Union.
Daniel Kahneman, Ph.D., is a pioneering scholar of psychology. After escaping Nazi occupation in World War II, Kahneman immigrated to Israel, where he served in the Israel Defense Forces and trained as a psychologist. Alongside Amos Tversky, he applied cognitive psychology to economic analysis, laying the foundation for a new field of research and earning the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002. He is currently a professor at Princeton University.
Richard Lugar represented Indiana in the United States Senate for more than 30 years. An internationally respected statesman, he is best known for his bipartisan leadership and decades-long commitment to reducing the threat of nuclear weapons. Prior to serving in Congress, Sen. Lugar was a Rhodes Scholar and mayor of Indianapolis from 1968 to 1975. He currently serves as president of the Lugar Center.