I had planned to blog today about one of my new favorite things as I mentioned in my previous post. However, that has now been bumped to my next post. Something happened yesterday that I want to highlight because it warms my heart every time. I guess in a roundabout way you could say this is a post about a favorite thing after all :-)
Yesterday, President Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to fifteen honorees at the White House. This is the highest civilian honor given in the United States. I always love when this ceremony comes around because I love getting the chance to see who is honored and also to really “see” these people. When I watch this ceremony I always look at each and every face and it’s like you can almost feel the honor along with them. Their life’s work is laid out in front of them at that moment for the world to see, but most importantly, for them to see the great expanse of their own lives. In those moments, I see their humanity and I feel my own.
Often I will know several of the recipients, but there are many that I’m usually becoming aware of for the first time. I’m always drawn afterwards to learn more about the contributions of these extraordinary people. That is what I love about this award…you have the well-known and the unsung who are honored. These people have just been themselves and served in their own ways and that is a what life is all about as I see it.
The honorees this year are as follows:
Rep. John Lewis – civil rights icon (He was called early in life to do the right thing)
Maya Angelou – poet, author (I’d love to have her gift for words)
Yo-Yo Ma – amazing cellist (Listening to him play makes me want to play music again, even more. By the way, I played the flute in a former life ;-) )
John H. Adams – Natural Resources Defense Council – Co-founder
Bill Russell – NBA Hall of Famer, basketball legend, and human rights activist
Stan Musial – Baseball legend of the St. Louis Cardinals
Angela Merkel – German Chancellor
Jasper Johns – artist; considered a major influence upon pop, minimalist, and conceptual art
Gerda Weissmann Klein – Holocaust Survivor
Dr. Tom Little – optometrist killed in Afghanistan while on humanitarian mission
Sylvia Mendez – civil rights activist
Jean Kennedy Smith – Former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland
John Sweeney – AFL-CIO President Emeritus
George H.W. Bush – Former U.S. President
Warren Buffett – Berkshire Hathaway CEO, philanthropist
Congrats to all of them and I look forward to seeing the honorees next year!