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Denzel Washington, Simone Biles, John McCain, others awarded Medal of Freedom : NPR

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President Biden presents gymnast Simone Biles with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, on July 7 on the White Home.

SAUL LOEB/AFP by way of Getty Photos


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SAUL LOEB/AFP by way of Getty Photos


President Biden presents gymnast Simone Biles with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, on July 7 on the White Home.

SAUL LOEB/AFP by way of Getty Photos

President Biden is presenting the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in a ceremony that gives a feel-good second for a White Home grappling with polls indicating an awesome majority of Individuals suppose the nation is on the improper monitor and low approval ratings for Biden.

The 17 honorees vary from 25-year-old Simone Biles, probably the most embellished American gymnast in historical past who has turn into an advocate for victims of sexual assault, to 91-year-old Fred Grey, who Biden referred to as one of many “most necessary civil rights legal professionals our historical past.”

“At this time, [Biles] provides to her medal depend of 32 – I do not know in the event you’re gonna discover room,” Biden chuckled as he delivered remarks within the East Room on the White Home. He praised Biles for her braveness “to show private ache right into a larger function, to face up and communicate for many who can’t communicate for themselves,” and famous she’s the youngest individual ever to obtain the Medal of Freedom.

President Biden acknowledges U.S. soccer participant Megan Rapinoe earlier than presenting her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

SAUL LOEB/AFP by way of Getty Photos


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SAUL LOEB/AFP by way of Getty Photos


President Biden acknowledges U.S. soccer participant Megan Rapinoe earlier than presenting her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

SAUL LOEB/AFP by way of Getty Photos

Biden additionally acknowledged soccer star Megan Rapinoe’s “exceptional profession” and her marketing campaign for equal pay for women.

“Past the World Cup titles to Olympic medals, Megan is a champion for a vital American reality: that everybody, everyone seems to be entitled to be handled with dignity and respect.”

The recipients of the Medal of Freedom typically mirror the sitting president. Former President Donald Trump offered the award to a few of his staunchest political allies, like Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan and radio host Rush Limbaugh, together with athletes from one his favourite sports activities — golf.

Biden’s honorees Thursday embrace Republicans and Democrats alike and have giants within the labor and civil rights actions, two teams which have been central to his lengthy political profession.

Recipients embrace Diane Nash, who labored intently with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and arranged main civil rights campaigns, and the late Richard Trumka, former president of the AFL-CIO and United Mine Employees.

Receiving a posthumous award is the late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a embellished Vietnam Battle veteran who died in 2018 of mind most cancers. McCain and Biden served alongside one another within the Senate and located themselves on reverse sides of the presidential race in 2008 when McCain was the Republican nominee and Biden was then-Sen. Barack Obama’s operating mate. McCain’s widow, Cindy McCain, endorsed Biden in 2020.

Sister Simone Campbell will obtain the dignity for her work as an advocate for well being care coverage, financial justice and immigration reform.

Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, D-Ariz., can even be honored. Giffords was the youngest lady ever elected to the Arizona state Senate and went on to serve within the U.S. Congress. She was shot within the head and severely wounded in 2011 throughout a constituent occasion. Her husband, Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona, is up for reelection this November.

Biden himself received this honor in 2017, when then-President Obama stunned his outgoing vice chairman with the medal. Obama referred to as Biden, a “lion of American historical past.”