click on each photo for biography of the recipients: Stephen Hawking, Sidney Poitier, Billie Jean King, Pedro Jose Greer, Joseph Lowery, Joseph Medicine Crow, Nancy Goodman Brinker, Mary Robinson, Muhammad Yunus, Harvey Milk, Sandra Day O'Connor, Chita Rivera, Ted Kennedy, Janet Rowley, Jack Kemp, Desmond Tutu
2009 Medal of Freedom Recipients
**note** Harvey Milk's award is accepted by his nephew, Stuart Milk; Senator Ted Kennedy's award is accepted by his daughter, Kara; Jack Kemp's award is accepted by his wife, Joanne
President Barack Obama awarded the nation's highest civilian honor to 16 "agents of change" on Wednesday, highlighting their accomplishments as examples of the heights a person can reach and the difference they can make in the lives of others.
"What unites them is a belief ... 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," Obama said at a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, overflowing with guests as well as White House aides who came to glimpse the celebrities in their midst.
"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," the president continued. "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." read more here....