Obama honors Presidential Medal of Freedom winners: Who's eligible? (+video)
Answer: Anybody who's accomplished anything the president of the United States likes. Obama awarded the Medal of Freedom to Bob Dylan, John Glenn, and 11 other recipients Tuesday.
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President Obama handed out 13 of these coveted decorations in an East Room ceremony on May 29. The aforementioned Mr. Dylan was one of the recipients. As he and John Glenn, Toni Morrison, and other 2012 honorees bowed to have the spiffy white star hung around their necks, we got to thinking: Where does the Presidential Medal of Freedom come from, anyway? How does it compare to the Medal of Honor and other top US decorations? Why did Dylan wear sunglasses to Tuesday’s East Room investiture?
That last question is unanswerable by us. As to the rest we’re now in position to provide a little US Medals 101 education, courtesy of the always helpful work of Congressional Research Service scholars.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom was established by Harry S. Truman to reward World War II-connected activities. In 1945, the first awards were bestowed on four women who had shown conspicuous service and/or bravery, including Anna M. Rosenberg, a member of the War Manpower Commission, and Marie Louise Dissard, a leader of the French Resistance.