NewsBiden praises Presidential Medal of Freedom winners for promoting 'faith in better...

Biden praises Presidential Medal of Freedom winners for promoting ‘faith in better tomorrow’

1 of 13 | President Joe Biden presents former Vice President Al Gore (L) with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington on Friday. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/UPI | License Photo

May 3 (UPI) — President Joe Biden on Friday evening presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the highest civilian award in the United States — to a range of Americans including athletes, actors, politicians, advocates and even an astronaut.

Recipients included Academy Award-winning actress Michelle Yeoh and the late legendary athlete Jim Thorpe.

President Joe Biden hosted a ceremony at the White House honoring them and 17 other recipients.

Biden said the recipients’ “relentless curiosity, inventiveness, ingenuity and hope have kept faith in a better tomorrow.”

Yeoh, who became the first Asian to win the Best Actress Oscar for her performance in Everything Everywhere All At Once, has established herself as an A-list actress in memorable films like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and Memoirs of a Geisha.

“Her roles transcend gender, cultures and languages — from martial arts to romantic comedies to science fiction — to show us what we all have in common,” Biden said

Thorpe, once considered the world’s greatest athlete, helped start what is now known as the National Football League and won a gold medal in the 1912 Summer Olympic Games in Sweden. His family appeared at the White House to accept the medal in his honor.

“I grew up always hearing about Jim Thorpe … as not just the greatest ball player but the greatest athlete of all time,” Biden said.

He was also the first Native American to capture gold medals for the United States during the Olympics with victories in the pentathlon and decathlon.

“He was a natural athlete,” said granddaughter Lynn Hannon, according to WTVT-TV. “He could bowl, he could play basketball, he could do anything. God gave him a very special, special talent. Not just baseball, or football or track.”

Others who received the high honor Friday include:

  • Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C.
  • Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
  • Former Vice President Al Gore
  • Former Secretary of State John Kerry
  • Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg
  • Former Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., posthumously
  • Former Transportation Secretary Elizabeth Dole
  • Late civil rights icon Medgar Evers
  • Civil rights activist Clarence B. Jones
  • Teresa Romero, leader of the United Farmers Union
  • Judy Shepard, LGBTQ advocate and mother of hate crime victim Matthew Shepard
  • The Rev. Father Greg Boyle, Los Angeles gang interventionist
  • Opal Lee, Juneteenth organizer
  • Phil Donahue, talk show host
  • Olympic swimmer Katie Ledecky
  • Astronaut Ellen Ochoa
  • Astronomer Jane Rigby

 » …

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