Obama Awards Medal of Freedom to Robert De Niro, Tom Hanks and More

Screenshot/The White House/YouTube

The award recognizes especially meritorious contributions to the national interests of the United States.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is awarding the nation's highest civilian honor to 21 groundbreaking actors, musicians, athletes and others during a ceremony Tuesday at the White House.

Among those getting the Presidential Medal of Freedom: Tom Hanks, Robert De Niro, Bruce Springsteen and Robert Redford.

Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, two of the best basketball players ever, are also among the honorees.

Bruce Springsteen and Diana Ross will be recognized for their music.

Other honorees include philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates, comedian Ellen DeGeneres and broadcaster Vin Scully.

Obama says the people receiving the medal helped push America forward and inspired millions around the world.

The award recognizes especially meritorious contributions to the national interests of the United States, to its culture, or to other significant endeavors.

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