It was announced on Friday that President Joe Biden will present the Presidential Medal of Freedom to seventeen individuals, including former Rep. Gabby Giffords, Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, and U.S. soccer player Megan Rapinoe.
Biden will present the medals at a White House event on July 7. The medals are the highest civilian honor in the country and are given out at the president’s discretion to those who have made outstanding contributions to national or international culture.
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Biden Will Award Medal of Freedom to Some Renowned Honorees
Denzel Washington, Khizr Khan (the father of a Muslim U.S. Army captain who was killed in action), and Sandra Lindsay (a nurse from New York who was one of the first in the country to receive a Covid vaccination) will also receive medals from Biden.
Other posthumous recipients include Senator John McCain (who served in both houses of Congress for decades and was the Republican presidential nominee in 2008), Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs, and former AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.
Giffords, an Arizona congresswoman, was shot at a constituent event in 2011 and later died from her wounds. She survived and became a major advocate for gun violence prevention efforts.
Olympic gold medalist and two-time Women’s World Cup champion Megan Rapinoe joins Olympic record-holder Simone Biles as the most decorated American gymnasts in history.
“They embody the soul of the nation — hard work, perseverance, and faith,” the White House said of the honorees.
Simone Biles and Megan Rapinoe will be presented with the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, by Joe Biden in a ceremony next week, the White House announced Friday 👏 pic.twitter.com/wpumUNjjku
— ESPN (@espn) July 1, 2022
Former Wyoming Republican Senator Alan Simpson, an outspoken supporter of campaign finance reform and marriage equality, and progressive activist Sister Simone Campbell round out the list of the other eight honorees. Wilma Vaught, a brigadier general and one of the most decorated women in military history; Julieta Garcia, the first Hispanic woman to serve as a college president; Fred Gray, one of the first Black members of the Alabama state legislature since Reconstruction; Father Alexander Karloutsos, former vicar-general of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America; Diane Nash, a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee who worked with Martin Luther King, Jr, all are included in the list of receivers.
The white house said, these people “have overcome significant obstacles to achieve impressive accomplishments in the arts and sciences, dedicated their lives to advocating for the most vulnerable among us, and acted with bravery to drive change in their communities — and across the world — while blazing trails for generations to come.”
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