By John Ikani
Actor Denzel Washington, Olympian Simone Biles and late Apple Inc. leader Steve Jobs, are among the list of famous faces to be awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, the White House has announced.
The Medal of Freedom is presented to individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the prosperity, values, or security of the United States, world peace, or other significant societal, public or private endeavours.
The awards, the country’s highest civilian honor, will be presented July 7 at the White House to 17 Americans, three of them posthumous.
Ahead of the presentation ceremony, the White House said those honored had “overcome significant obstacles… and acted with bravery to drive change in their communities — and across the world — while blazing trails for generations to come.”
One posthumous recipient this year is John McCain, a one-time Republican presidential nominee, long-time senator from Arizona, and Vietnam War veteran who won a Purple Heart.
Also among the recipients is Megan Rapinoe, the Olympic gold medalist soccer star, two-time Women’s World Cup champion and outspoken advocate on equality, race and LGBTQ issues.
Previous winners of the presidential medal include the basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Motown singer Diana Ross and the actor Robert De Niro.