President Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom today to 18 recipients, headlined by the likes of Stevie Wonder, Meryl Strep and Tom Brokaw. He gave glowing reviews to the accomplishments and impacts of each recipient. He described the event as a time to, “Give thanks to public servants who have devoted their lives to their fellow citizens”.
The ceremony had several emotional moments, including three medals being given posthumously to Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and James Chaney—three Civil Rights workers brutally murdered in the Summer of 1964, trying to register black voters in Mississippi. President Obama remarked, “That Freedom Summer, these three Americans refused to sit on the sidelines. Their brutal murder by a gang of Ku Klux Klan members shook the conscience of our nation…And while they are often remembered for how they died, we honor them today for how they lived -– with the idealism and the courage of youth”.
The President, in a more lighthearted moment, said of Streep, “I love Meryl Streep. Her husband knows it. Michelle knows it. There's nothing either of them can do about it”. And of the First Lady, he remarked, “Don't get Michelle going about Stevie”.