President Obama presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom to 16 individuals Wednesday. Both Bill Clinton and Oprah Winfrey were among the individuals Obama recognized for making “especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.” A jazz artist, gay civil rights leader, feminist writer, environmental scientist and country music singer were among the other medal recipients. President John F. Kennedy founded the current medal in 1963.
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