It is time once again for the presidential administration of the United States to honor the individuals who have brought the country honor in their own ways. On Nov. 16, The White House released the names of the 17 people who will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor given to civilians.
The 17 honorees include people from the entertainment and sports industry, public service in and out of politics and civil rights leaders. The awardees were chosen for their contributions to the interests of the nation, and among them are prominent figures from the entertainment industry, including Steven Spielberg, Barbra Streisand and Gloria Estefan.
"From public servants who helped us meet defining challenges of our time to artists who expanded our imaginations, from leaders who have made our union more perfect to athletes who have inspired millions of fans, these men and women have enriched our lives and helped define our shared experience as Americans," President Barack Obama said.
The entertainment industry is represented by multi-awarded personalities whose array of work speak much about their greatness. These are Steven Spielberg, Barbra Streisand, Emilio Estefan, Gloria Estefan, Itzhak Perlman, Stephen Sondheim and James Taylor.
The public service and education sector are represented by Bonnie Carroll, Lee Hamilton, Katherine G. Johnson, Barbara Mikulski and William Ruckelshaus, all of whom have influenced programs for the betterment of American citizens.
For his contribution to sports, 1979 Baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays, who also served in the U.S. Army, will be awarded.
Four posthumous Medals of Freedom will be awarded this year. Baseball Hall of Famer for 1972 Yogi Berra will be given one for his contribution in the sports industry as a baseball icon and his contributions during World War II when he earned a purple heart for his services in the Navy.
Shirley Chisholm will also be honored for being the first African-American woman elected to congress and for her contributions in championing minority education. Billy Frank, Jr., an advocate for Indian treaty rights and environmental sustainability as well as a leader of peaceful civil rights sit-ins, is also honored. The fourth posthumous award is given to Minoru Yasui who consistently fought for civil rights and the proper upholding of the constitution.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom will be awarded on Nov. 24 at the White House.