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17 Recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom

By: Chenwei Ren

17 people, including actor Denzel Washington, gymnast Simone Biles, and the late John McCain, an Arizona Republican, will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom: the nation's highest civilian honor.

The Associated Press was the first news organization to receive word of Biden's honorees, which span the fields of academia, sports, politics, the military, entertainment, and civil rights and social justice advocacy.

The Democratic president will present the medals at the White House this week.

The recipients of the medals awarded by Biden “have overcome significant obstacles to achieve impressive accomplishments in the arts and sciences, dedicated their lives to advocating for the most vulnerable among us, and acted with bravery to drive change in their communities, and across the world, while blazing trails for generations to come," The White House says.

According to the White House, the award is given to individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the prosperity, values, or security of the United States, to international peace, or to other significant societal public or private endeavors.

Of the 17, here is more information about the four most memorable:

Simone Biles is the best U.S. gymnast in history, and an advocate of athletes’ mental health and children in foster care and sexual assault victims.

Sandra Lindsay is an advocate for COVID-19 vaccinations after receiving the first dose in the U.S. outside of clinical trials.

McCain died of brain cancer in 2018, and spent more than five years in captivity in Vietnam while serving in the U.S. Navy. He later represented Arizona in both houses of Congress and was the Republican presidential nominee in 2008.

Washington, an actor, director, and producer, is a two-time Oscar winner. He has served as a Boys & Girls Clubs of America spokesperson for a long time.

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