Our Top Stories
A Thank You to Some of the Finest Citizens in the World
August 12, 2009
05:55 PM EDT
Viewing this video requires Adobe Flash Player 8 or higher. Download the free player.
Honoring the achievements of the Presidential Medal of Freedom award winners today at the White House, the President noted that the 16 recipients represent some of the finest citizens in the world. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is America's highest medal awarded to civilians. The President remarked that the recipients hail from very diverse backgrounds –from the tennis court to the Supreme Court – but all have been agents of change in their communities and around the world:
The men and women we honor today have led very different lives and pursued very different careers. They're pioneers in science and medicine. They're gifted artists and indomitable athletes. They have made their mark in the courtroom, in the community, and in Congress. And what unites them is a belief -- that most -- forgive me to those of you who are not Americans -- but what we consider to be that most American of beliefs -- that our lives are what we make of them; that no barriers of race, gender, or physical infirmity can restrain the human spirit; and that the truest test of a person's life is what we do for one another.
The recipients of the Medal of Freedom did not set out to win this or any other award. They did not set out in pursuit of glory or fame or riches. Rather, they set out, guided by passion, committed to hard work, aided by persistence, often with few advantages but the gifts, grace, and good name God gave them.
So, let them stand as an example here in the United States -- and around the world -- of what we can achieve in our own lives. Let them stand as an example of the difference we can make in the lives of others. Let each of their stories stand as an example of a life well lived.
You can read the President’s complete remarks and learn more about the honorees here.