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Biden Honors Pelosi and Clyburn with Medal of Freedom Alongside 17 Others

President Biden (Credits: The Hill)

President Biden honored 19 exceptional individuals with the Medal of Freedom on Friday, praising them as an “incredible group of people” who have made huge contributions to society. The recipients included prominent Democratic leaders, activists, athletes, artists, and public figures who have demonstrated remarkable achievements in their respective fields.

The President spoke glowingly about each recipient, highlighting their unique accomplishments and impact on the country. He noted that the Medal of Freedom, established by President Kennedy 61 years ago, is one of his favorite events at the White House, as it celebrates individuals who have made a lasting difference in the world.

Among the recipients were former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, former Vice President Al Gore, and Rep. James E. Clyburn, who received special recognition for their dedication to public service and democracy. Biden acknowledged Clyburn’s crucial endorsement in the 2020 Democratic primary: “I would not be standing here as president if not for Jim.”

Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (Credits: People)

Pelosi was commended for her leadership during the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, with Biden stating that history will remember her as the most incredible Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Gore was praised for his gracious acceptance of the 2000 presidential election outcome, which Biden implied was a stark contrast to former President Trump’s refusal to accept the results of the 2020 election.

Other known recipients included actor Michelle Yeoh, Olympic swimmer Katie Ledecky, activist Opal Lee, and former Secretary of State John Kerry. Biden admired Ledecky’s impressive Olympic record and looked forward to welcoming her back to the White House with more medals after the Paris Olympics.

The list of honorees also included former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Jesuit priest Gregory J. Boyle, former Sen. Elizabeth Dole, and media personality Phil Donahue. Bloomberg was credited with revolutionizing the economy, while Donahue was recognized for his contributions to open and honest dialogue.

Rep. James Clyburn (Credits:

Civil rights activist Clarence B. Jones, astronaut Ellen Ochoa, astronomer Jane Rigby, United Farm Workers President Teresa Romero, and Judy Shepard, the mother of Matthew Shepard, were also honored for their tireless efforts in advancing social justice and human rights.

Posthumous awards were given to civil rights activist Medgar Wiley Evers, former Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, and Jim Thorpe, a pioneering Native American athlete who won Olympic gold medals in multiple sports.

Throughout the ceremony, President Biden emphasized the importance of recognizing these individuals’ achievements, stating that they embody the spirit of hope and progress that defines America. The Medal of Freedom recipients inspire us all, demonstrating the power of human ingenuity, creativity, and perseverance in shaping a better future.

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