25 November 2016 - Barack Obama awards his final Presidential Medals of Freedom
Gardiner Harris (The New York Times, 22/11/2016)
President Obama gave the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, to 21 artists, sports figures, scientists and philanthropists on Tuesday in a bravura performance that had the East Wing, stuffed to capacity, laughing and whooping with appreciation.
“Everyone on this stage has touched me in a powerful personal way,” Mr. Obama said at the ceremony’s end. “These are folks who have helped make me who I am and think about my presidency.”
Mr. Obama has given more Presidential Medals of Freedom than any previous president, and the surprising announcement last week that he would induct one last class — he held a similar ceremony two months ago — reflected his obvious joy in lauding his personal heroes, and the awareness that many of them would probably never receive such an honor from his successor. Many of the awardees have praised Democrats or been sharply critical of President-elect Donald J. Trump.
E. Fletcher McClellan, Kyle C. Kopko, Christopher J. Devine, Jillian E. Casey and Julia L. Ward (The Washington Post, 22/11/2016)
By the end of Tuesday’s ceremony, Obama will have awarded at least 114 Medals of Freedom, more than any other president. (We say “at least” because counting the number of awards is more complicated than you’d imagine. For example, both Bill and Melinda Gates will receive a Medal for their joint work at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In our count, we count joint awards as a single medal.)
Ellen DeGeneres, Robert de Niro and Diana Ross
Maya Rhodan (Time Magazine, 22/11/2016)
President Obama hosted his last Presidential Medal of Freedom Ceremony on Tuesday, honoring 21 luminaries for their contributions to the U.S.
The ceremony was as diverse as it was star-studded with Michael Jordan, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Hanks, Robert De Niro lining a stage in the East Room of the White House alongside architect Frank Gehry, computer scientist Margaret Hamilton, and sculpture and landscape artist Maya Lin. President Obama seemed to get a kick out of awarding what he called a “really good class” of recipients on Tuesday afternoon, cracking jokes about Jordan who he called “more than a meme” and Abdul-Jabbar’s performance in the cult-classic Airplane.
After facing trouble at the gate after forgetting her ID, television personality Ellen DeGeneres appeared overwhelmed with emotion when receiving her medal of freedom from the President, the nation’s highest civilian honor. The president, who has awarded more medals of freedom than any of his predecessors, also touched on the personal nature of his final awards ceremony, saying each of the recipients had had a profound impact on his life.
Kim Bellware (The Huffington Post, 22/11/2016)
For the final time in his presidency, Barack Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor, to 21 recipients at the White House on Tuesday.
Honorees included entertainers Tom Hanks and Diana Ross, philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates, architect Frank Gehry, scientist Margaret Hamilton, and athletes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and (a crying) Michael Jordan, whom Obama noted “was more than just an internet meme.”
The honor is awarded 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 White House said in a statement earlier this month in announcing the nominees.
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"25 November 2016 - Barack Obama awards his final Presidential Medals of Freedom", La Clé des Langues [en ligne], Lyon, ENS de LYON/DGESCO (ISSN 2107-7029), novembre 2016. Consulté le 21/02/2024. URL: https://cle.ens-lyon.fr/anglais/key-story/archives-revue-de-presse-2016/25-november-2016-barack-obama-awards-his-final-presidential-medals-of-freedom