NEWS

President Barack Obama to Award Medal of Freedom to Tom Hanks, Ellen DeGeneres, Robert DeNiro and More!

by Latifah Muhamamd 7:40 PM PST, November 16, 2016
Photo: Getty Images

President Barack Obama has named the nearly two dozen recipients set to receive the country's "highest civilian honor."

Tom Hanks, Ellen DeGeneres, Robert DeNiro, Diana Ross, Lorne Michaels, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Michael Jordan are among the star-studded list of honorees earning the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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"The Presidential Medal of Freedom is not just our nation's highest civilian honor - it's a tribute to the idea that all of us, no matter where we come from, have the opportunity to change this country for the better," President Obama said in a statement released by the White House on Wednesday. "From scientists, philanthropists, and public servants to activists, athletes, and artists, these 21 individuals have helped push America forward, inspiring millions of people around the world along the way."

Following the announcement, celeb honorees began thanking the president on social media.

"I am so honored. Thank you, President Obama," DeGeneres tweeted to the @POTUS twitter handle.

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"Receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom would be an honor under any circumstances, but receiving it from President Obama, who has fought so tirelessly to bring about social justice for everyone, makes it that much sweeter," Abdul-Jabbar wrote on Facebook. "I'm especially proud to be sharing this award with some of the people who have influenced my life."

The Presidential Medal of Freedom honors "individuals who have made contributions to the security of national interests of the United States," as well as those promoting world peace, and other "significant public or private endeavors."

The award ceremony will stream live via the White House website on Nov. 22.

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With less than two months before he officially turns over the White House keys to President-elect Donald Trump, President Obama has a packed schedule that includes international state tours, and hosting guests at the White House.

Watch the commander-in-chief and his wife, Michelle, get down to Usher's "Yeah!" during BET's Love & Happiness: An Obama Celebration concert special in the video below.

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