The President of the United States of America, Barack Obama presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom to 21 Americans during an East Room ceremony at the White House November 22, 2016 in Washington, DC.
The event took place in the East Room of the White House as the U.S. President, Barack Obama awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to 19 living and two posthumous pioneers in science, sports, public service, human rights, politics and the arts.
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Of all the recipient, Ellen DeGeneres was very emotional about the moment, after she was almost not allowed inside the White House in the past.“In a career spanning three decades, Ellen DeGeneres has lifted our spirits and brought joy to our lives as a stand-up comic, actor, and television star,” the announcer said about her. “In every role, she reminds us to be kind to one another and to treat people as each of us wants to be treated.
“At pivotal moments, her courage and candor helped change the minds and hearts of millions of Americans, accelerating our nation’s constant drive toward equality and acceptance for all. Again and again, Ellen DeGeneres has shown us that a single individual can make the world a more fun, more open, more loving place, so long as we ‘just keep swimming.”
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Other stars who received the medal included Tom Hanks, Diana Ross, Robert De Niro, Bruce Springsteen, Robert Redford, Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels, basketball players Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill and Melinda Gates, and more.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest honor for civilians in the United States of America.