Vin Scully, Tom Hanks among those given Medal of Freedom

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Los Angeles Dodgers legendary broadcaster Vin Scully, "America's dad" Tom Hanks and architect Frank Gehry were among 21 people who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom Tuesday. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Los Angeles Dodgers legendary broadcaster Vin Scully, "America's dad" Tom Hanks and architect Frank Gehry were among 21 people who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom Tuesday.

The award is the nation's highest civilian honor. It recognizes exemplary contributions to the national interests of the U.S., its culture, world peace, or other significant private or public endeavors.

"Today we celebrate extraordinary Americans who have lifted our spirits, strengthened our Union, pushed us toward progress," President Barack Obama said during the ceremony.

Other notable figures who were honored included Ellen DeGeneres, Robert De Niro, Robert Redford, Bill and Melinda Gates, Lorne Michaels, Maya Lin, Newt Minow and Diana Ross.

Before the ceremony, DeGeneres created a short mannequin challenge video and also tweeted that she wasn't allowed into the White House because she had forgotten her identification card. She was later allowed inside.


Obama provided introductions to each recipient, which included some of the contributions they've made to society.

Vin Scully

"Since Jackie Robinson started at second base, Vin taught us the game and introduced us to its players. He narrated the improbable years, the impossible heroics, turned contests into conversations."
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Legendary broadcaster Vin Scully receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

"Physically, intellectually, spiritually - Kareem is one-of-a-kind. An American who illuminates our most basic freedoms and our highest aspirations."
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Basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.

Frank Gehry

"He's inspiring our next generation through his advocacy for arts education in our schools...Frank's work teaches us that while buildings may be sturdy and fixed to the ground, like all great art, they can lift our spirits, they can soar and broaden our horizons."
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Architect Frank Gehry receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.

Ellen DeGeneres

"Today, every day in every way, Ellen counters what too often divides us with the countless things that bind us together, inspires us to be better - one joke, one dance at a time."
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Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.

Tom Hanks

"America's dad has stood up to cancer with his beloved wife Rita, he's championed our veterans, supported space exploration, and the truth is, Tom has always saved his best roles for real life. He is a good man, which is the best title you can have."
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President Barack Obama presented actor Tom Hanks with the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016.

Michael Jordan

"There is a reason you call somebody "the Michael Jordan of"...because Michael Jordan is the Michael Jordan of greatness. He is the definition of somebody so good at what they do that everybody recognizes it. That's pretty rare."
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Basketball legend Michael Jordan receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.

Related Topics:
entertainmentpresident barack obamaLos Angeles LakersLos Angeles Dodgersarchitectureactortalk showu.s. & worldthe white houseWashington D.C.
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