By Hayden Wright
In his final months as President of the United States, Barack Obama has one last chance to bestow the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Americans who’ve contributed to the “security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.” The medal is America’s highest civilian honor and this year, Bruce Springsteen and Diana Ross will receive it at the White House.
In addition to those music icons, other recipients include Tom Hanks, Michael Jordan, Ellen DeGeneres, Bill and Melinda Gates, Lorne Michaels, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Cicely Tyson. The medals will be awarded next Tuesday, so the honorees have something to brag about over Thanksgiving dinner.
President Obama has brought more musicians into the fold of medal recipients than any other president. During his two terms, Gloria Estefan, Loretta Lynn, Yo-Yo-Ma, Barbra Streisand, James Taylor and Stevie Wonder have earned the honor. Obama even preempted Stockholm’s Nobel Committee when he recognized Bob Dylan in 2012.