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Biden awards Medal of Freedom to 17 people

By: Iris Shen

On July 1st, the White House announced that President Biden will present the nation’s highest civilian honor, Medal of Freedom, to 17 people. The award ceremony will take place on July 7th at the White House and includes influential figures such as Simone Biles and Denzel Washington.

Biden’s honors list includes both living and deceased icons from the worlds of Hollywood, sports, politics, civil rights and social justice advocacy. The medal is for people who have made exemplary contributions to the values, security, or prosperity of the United States, world peace or other significant endeavors.

Biden himself is also a medal recipient. President Obama honored his public service as a U.S. senator and vice president by awarding him a Presidential Medal of Freedom a week before they left office in January of 2017.

The White House said that the people who will receive medals “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 honorees include:

Simone Biles is the most successful U.S. gymnast in history, winning 32 Olympic and World Championship medals. She is an advocate on issues that are very personal to her, including the mental health of all athletes and children in foster care.

Denzel Washington is a double Oscar-winning director, producer, and actor. He also has a Tony award, two Golden Globes and the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award. He is a longtime spokesperson for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

Sandra Lindsay, a nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center who became an advocate for COVID-19 vaccinations after receiving the first dose in the U.S.

John McCain, spent more than five years in Vietnam while serving in the U.S. Navy. He also later represented Arizona in both houses of Congress and was the Republican presidential nominee in 2008. Biden said McCain was a “dear friend” and "a hero.” Unfortunately, he died in 2018 due to brain cancer.

The other 13 recipients are:

Steve Jobs, Sister Simone Campbell, Julieta Garcia, Gabrielle Giffords, Fred Gray,

Father Alexander Karloutsos, Khizr Khan, Diane Nash, Megan Rapino, Alan Simpson, Richard Trumka, Wilma Vaught, and Raul Yzaguirre.

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