Fifteen Chosen to Receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom

By Jenny Schlesinger

Nov 17, 2010 4:58pm

ABC News' Sunlen Miller reports:  Next year President Obama will award the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor to fifteen people including George H.W Bush, Chancellor Angela Merkel, Maya Angelou, Warren Buffett, Yo-Yo Ma and Bill Russell.  The award is presented for people 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.  “These outstanding honorees come from a broad range of backgrounds and they’ve excelled in a broad range of fields, but all of them have lived extraordinary lives that have inspired us, enriched our culture, and made our country and our world a better place,” President Obama said in a statement, “I look forward to awarding them this honor.”  During the ceremony slated for early next year, one award will be given posthumously to Dr Tom Little, an optometrist murdered in August of this year by the Taliban in Afghanistan while returning from a humanitarian mission.  The complete list of recipients are:  Former President George H. W. Bush German Chancellor Angela Merkel Congressman and civil rights activist John Lewis Co-founder of the National Resources Defense Council, John H. Adams Author and poet Maya Angelou­­ Investor, Industrialist and Philanthropist, Warren Buffett Artist Jasper Johns Holocaust survivor, author and founder of Citizenship Counts, Gerda Weissmann Klein Optometrist, Dr. Tom Little Cellist Yo-Yo Ma Civil Rights Activist Sylvia Mendez Hall of Fame first baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals, Stan “the Man” Musial Former Boston Celtics’ Captain, Bill Russell Founder of VSA—The International Organization on Arts and Disability, Jean Kennedy Smith . Former President of the ALF-CIO, John J. Sweeney  -Sunlen Miller

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