WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is honoring a diverse group of political and cultural icons with the Medal of Freedom today.
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright leads the list, which also includes astronaut John Glenn, basketball coach Pat Summitt and rock legend Bob Dylan.
Also being honored are former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, Israel’s former president Shimon Peres, and Jan Karski, who was a resistance fighter against the Nazi occupation of Poland during World War II.
Others include Gordon Hirabayashi, who fought the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II; author Toni Morrison, the Girl Scouts’ founder Juliette Gordon Low, the co-founder of the National Farmworkers Association, Dolores Huerta; John Doar, who handled civil rights cases as assistant attorney general in the 1960s; and William Foege (FAY’-gee), the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who helped lead the effort to eradicate smallpox.
The Medal of Freedom is awared for meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States or to world peace — or to cultural or other significant endeavors. It’s the nation’s highest civilian honor.