Springsteen, De Niro, Hanks Get Presidential Medal

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President Obama awards the presidential Medal of Freedom to Bruce Springsteen, November 2016

President Obama awards the presidential Medal of Freedom to Bruce Springsteen, November 2016

Update (Nov. 22): The Presidential Medal of Freedom was awarded today to more than 20 Americans who have contributed in great measure to the betterment of the nation. “Today we celebrate extraordinary Americans who have lifted our spirits and pushed us to progress,” said Obama in his introduction. “This is particularly impressive class: Innovators and artists, public servants and rabble-rousers, athletes and renowned character actors like the guy from Space Jam,” referring to Michael Jordan’s basketball comedy.

Obama stated that singer Diana Ross’ influence “is as inescapable as ever,” and called Bruce Springsteen’s songs the “anthems of America, the realities of who we are and the reverie of who we want to be. I am the president. He is the Boss. Pushing 70, he is still pushing down four-hour sets. I thought twice about giving him a Medal of Freedom since he calls himself a prisoner of rock ‘n’ roll for years to come.” Among the others honored were Robert Redford, Robert De Niro, Tom Hanks and Lorne Michaels. (Scroll to bottom to see Springsteen receive his award.)

Read our original report here…
Today (Nov. 16), President Barack Obama named 21 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Among the honorees, who will receive their awards Nov. 22, at the White House, are classic rocker Bruce Springsteen, soul diva Diana Ross, actors and actresses Robert De Niro, Tom Hanks, Robert Redford and Cicely Tyson, Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels, basketball legends Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul Jabbar, TV personality Ellen DeGeneres, philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates, and broadcaster Vin Scully

According to a White House press release, “The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the nation’s highest civilian honor, 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.”

President Obama said, “The Presidential Medal of Freedom is not just our nation’s highest civilian honor—it’s a tribute to the idea that all of us, no matter where we come from, have the opportunity to change this country for the better. From scientists, philanthropists and public servants to activists, athletes and artists, these 21 individuals have helped push America forward, inspiring millions of people around the world along the way.”

Related: A year ago, James Taylor was among the artists receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom

On its page announcing the recipients, the White House described Springsteen as follows:

“Bruce Springsteen is a singer, songwriter and bandleader. More than five decades ago, he bought a guitar and learned how to make it talk. Since then, the stories he has told, in lyrics and epic live concert performances, have helped shape American music and have challenged us to realize the American dream. Springsteen is a Kennedy Center honoree and he and the E Street Band he leads have each been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”

Diana Ross (Photo from her Facebook page)

Diana Ross (Photo from her Facebook page)

Diana Ross’s entry reads:

“Diana Ross has had an iconic career spanning more than 50 years within the entertainment industry in music, film, television, theater and fashion. Diana Ross is an Academy Award nominee, inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and recipient of the Grammy Awards highest honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award. Ross was a recipient of the 2007 Kennedy Center Honors. Diana Ross’s greatest legacy is her five wonderful children.”

This event will be streamed live here.

Watch Bob Dylan receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012

And here is Springsteen receiving his 2016 medal…

Or watch the entire ceremony here.

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