Obama welcomes Medal of Freedom recipients to White House
Photo credit: Khalil Abdallah/CNN
May 29th, 2012
06:36 PM ET

Obama welcomes Medal of Freedom recipients to White House

WHITE HOUSE (CNN) - President Obama honored a dozen heroes from all different aspects of life to the White House and presented them with the highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom. The group of honorees included signer and songwriter Bob Dylan, former astronaut and senator John Glenn, former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and legendary women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt. Three recipients were honored posthumously, including the founder of the Girl Scouts Juliette Gordon Low.

Obama commented that all 13 individuals were personal heroes in his life. He mentioned reading novelist Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon as a teenager and listening to Dylan’s music when he was in college. He praised John Doar for his work as a Justice Department official who enforced civil rights in the 1960s. “I think it's fair to say that I might not be here had it not been for his work,” the president said.

He also mentioned how the winners had impacted his family, particularly his daughters’ lives.

“Everybody on this stage has marked my life in profound ways.  And I was telling - somebody like Pat Summitt - when I think about my two daughters, who are tall and gifted, and knowing that because of folks like Coach Summitt they’re standing up straight and diving after loose balls and feeling confident and strong, then I understand that the impact that these people have had extends beyond me,” Obama said. “It will continue for generations to come.”

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