On May 29, President Obama presented Bob Dylan with Presidential Medal of Honor, our country’s greatest civilian honor. Obama had to coax Dylan–who wore sunglasses indoors–up to the podium, where POTUS praised him, saying:
This is the highest civilian honor this country can bestow, which is ironic, because nobody sets out to win it. No one ever picks up a guitar, or fights a disease, or starts a movement, thinking, “You know what, if I keep this up, in 2012, I could get a medal in the White House from a guy named Barack Obama”…Today, everybody from Bruce Springsteen to U2 owes Bob a debt of gratitude. There is not a bigger giant in the history of American music. All these years later, he’s still chasing that sound, still searching for a little bit of truth. And I have to say that I am a really big fan.
Also honored: Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Justice Department official John Doar, a pivotal civil rights movement figure; William Foege, a doctor and epidemiologist who helped eradicate smallpox in the 1970s; astronaut John Glenn; the late Gordon Hirabayashi, who openly denounced the World War II-era internment of Japanese-Americans; farm worker union pioneer Dolores Huerta; the late Jan Karski, who fought the Nazis as a member of the Polish Underground and warned the world about the Holocaust; Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low, who died in 1927; author Toni Morrison; Israeli President Shimon Peres, former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, and Pat Summitt, college basketball’s winningest coach and a crusader against Alzheimer’s.