Weekly Wrap Up: Honoring Our Nation’s Greats

Honoring the Medal of Freedom Recipients: On Wednesday, President Obama honored 16 Medal of Freedom recipients during a ceremony in the East Room.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom was established 50 years ago by President John F. Kennedy and is our nation’s highest civilian honor. This year’s recipients include sports champions, scientists, activists, musicians, journalists and public servants. “These are the men and women who in their extraordinary lives remind us all of the beauty of the human spirit, the values that define us as Americans, the potential that lives inside of all of us,” President Obama said.

Tribute to President John F. Kennedy: President Obama, former President Bill Clinton, First Lady Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton traveled to Arlington National Cemetery to lay a wreath at the eternal flame, in honor of President Kennedy’s life and legacy.

150th Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address: One hundred and fifty years ago on Tuesday, President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address from Gettysburg, PA. To mark the occasion, President Obama handwrote an essay in tribute to Lincoln’s historic speech for an exhibit at the Lincoln Presidential Library. Make sure to read President Obama’s essay here.

Filibuster Rule Change: President Obama spoke from the White House Press Briefing Room on Thursday about the Senate’s procedural change that guarantees all of the President’s judicial and executive branch nominees – except Supreme Court nominees – can be confirmed with a simple up-or-down vote. In his remarks, the President stated his support for the change.

All too often, we've seen a single senator or a handful of senators choose to abuse arcane procedural tactics to unilaterally block bipartisan compromises, or to prevent well-qualified, patriotic Americans from filling critical positions of public service in our system of government.

The President also spoke about why this change is especially important right now. “It's no longer used in a responsible way to govern. It's rather used as a reckless and relentless tool to grind all business to a halt,” he said. Read his full remarks here.

Wall Street Journal CEO Council Meeting: The President spoke at the annual Wall Street Journal CEO Council meeting before sitting down for a question and answer session. President Obama discussed a wide range of issues including immigration, education and the Affordable Care Act.

Vice President in Panama: Vice President Biden traveled to Panama on Monday to tour the Panama Canal expansion project, which is set to open in 2015. The project will double the capacity of the Panama Canal and allow for larger ships. The Vice President also met with the President of Panama, Ricardo Martinelli, and conducted a wreath-laying ceremony at Corozal American Cemetery and Memorial to honor U.S. military members who died in service to their country. 

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