Barack Obama

President Obama Awards Medals of Freedom

Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey among honorees


In the mid-morning, Obama will award the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. It's the 50th anniversary of the medal created by President Kennedy, and Obama will include a tribute to JFK in his remarks.

This year's honorees include former president Bill Clinton, as well as television icon Oprah Winfrey, country music legend Loretta Lynn, civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, Hall of Fame college basketball coach Dean Smith, and the late astronaut Sally Ride.

The award is "presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors," says the White House.

Later in the day, presidents Obama and Clinton — and first ladies Michelle Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton — pay another tribute to Kennedy with a visit to his grave site at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.