Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Presidential Medal of Freedom

I had planned to blog today about one of my new favorite things as I mentioned in my previous post. However, that has now been bumped to my next post. Something happened yesterday that I want to highlight because it warms my heart every time. I guess in a roundabout way you could say this is a post about a favorite thing after all :-)

Yesterday, President Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to fifteen honorees at the White House. This is the highest civilian honor given in the United States. I always love when this ceremony comes around because I love getting the chance to see who is honored and also to really “see” these people. When I watch this ceremony I always look at each and every face and it’s like you can almost feel the honor along with them. Their life’s work is laid out in front of them at that moment for the world to see, but most importantly, for them to see the great expanse of their own lives. In those moments, I see their humanity and I feel my own.



Often I will know several of the recipients, but there are many that I’m usually becoming aware of for the first time. I’m always drawn afterwards to learn more about the contributions of these extraordinary people. That is what I love about this award…you have the well-known and the unsung who are honored. These people have just been themselves and served in their own ways and that is a what life is all about as I see it.

The honorees this year are as follows:

Rep. John Lewis – civil rights icon (He was called early in life to do the right thing)

Maya Angelou – poet, author (I’d love to have her gift for words)

Yo-Yo Ma – amazing cellist (Listening to him play makes me want to play music again, even more. By the way, I played the flute in a former life ;-) )

John H. Adams – Natural Resources Defense Council – Co-founder

Bill Russell – NBA Hall of Famer, basketball legend, and human rights activist

Stan Musial – Baseball legend of the St. Louis Cardinals

Angela Merkel – German Chancellor

Jasper Johns – artist; considered a major influence upon pop, minimalist, and conceptual art

Gerda Weissmann Klein – Holocaust Survivor

Dr. Tom Little – optometrist killed in Afghanistan while on humanitarian mission

Sylvia Mendez – civil rights activist

Jean Kennedy Smith – Former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland

John Sweeney – AFL-CIO President Emeritus

George H.W. Bush – Former U.S. President

Warren Buffett – Berkshire Hathaway CEO, philanthropist

Congrats to all of them and I look forward to seeing the honorees next year!

8 comments:

Mike Golch said...

My Hat is off to all the honorees!

Brit Boy said...

Some very deserved awards to some remarkable people. Thank you for sharing :)

Emm said...

How lovely! I even know some of those people like Maya Angelou and Yo-Yo Ma and George H W Bush of course.

Vixen said...

I feel the same way about it. I love afterwards digging in and discovering more about the ones I don't know. And I too would give anything to have Maya's gift with words.

Mama Mia said...

It's obvious from this post how much you miss the US of A. :)

I love Maya! I almost named my daughter, "Maya Angelou" but my husband objected. Even if my middle name is Angela. So instead, we named her "Maia Rose" - The first name is a cross between my name and my mom's (May). It's spelled with an "i" but still pronounced as "Maya". The middle name is from her paternal grandmother :)

ElizOF said...

What a wonderful and varied list of awardees...and even some I didn't expect to see on the list. Which makes it more interesting! Thanks for bringing this to the fore again. I had fun reading it.
Best,
Elizabeth

Sissym said...

Dori, I did not know about this award in your country. I have great admiration for Barack Obama. I know how difficult it is to govern such an important country in the world and therefore it is easy to be criticized too. The good that the USA is a nation serious about her principles, governments are concerned to give a good example, even if not appeal to everyone in this world.

Dori said...

Mike and Brit Boy,
Absolutely! :)

Emm,
Yes, I adore Maya Angelou and Yo-Yo Ma. I was so glad that they were honored :)

Vixen,
Yes,it's so intriguing to find out everyone's story and to track back how they got to this point in their lives. Maya is amazing isn't she :)

Mama Mia,
Yep, I love keeping a foot in each country. Home will always be there no matter where I am. It's in the blood :) Yes, Maya is just amazing! How cool that you named your daughter Maia. I loved your story! What a lovely name! Thanks for sharing :)

ElizOf,
That's what I thought too...a very varied list. I just love the example that there are many paths in life and they all did it their own way. I'm so glad you enjoyed this post. Hugs to you :)

Sissym,
Yes, this award has been going on for quite a while and that's part of the reason that I wanted to highlight it...to bring the awareness of it to those who might not have heard of it :) I'm so glad that I could share this. Yes, I like President Obama too and he has an extremely hard job, but I love that he seems to have a long view of things. He talks in terms of the future and I like that. Thank you so much for your insights Sissy. It's great to get your perspective :) Hugs.