THE WHITE HOUSE – Oprah, Bill Clinton awarded the Medal of Freedom on solemn JFK 50th anniversary


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November 20, 2013

Wendy Thompson


The White House

Photos:  Wendy Thompson/DC Spotlight Newspaper

WASHINGTON, DC – On November 20, the White House was besieged by the gathering of the best of Hollywood and Washington politics.  On the 50th anniversary of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which was established by President John Kennedy, a who’s who of America came out to support the recipients and celebrate Kennedy’s legacy.

The 2013 list of recipients included:  former President Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Gloria Steinem, Ernie Banks, Loretta Lynn, Sally Ride (posthumous), Ben Bradlee, Daniel Inouye (posthumous), Daniel Kahneman, Richard Lugar, Mario Molina, Bayard Rustin (posthumous), Dean Smith, Arturo Sandoval, Cordy Tindell “C.T.” Vivian, and Patricia Wald.

The president recognized each recipient and individual accomplishment.  Of Winfrey, whom he called a “family friend,” he joked, “Early in Oprah Winfrey’s career, her bosses told her she should change her name to Susie.  I have to pause here to say I got the same advice.  ‘People can relate to Susie.’  That’s what they said.  It turned out, surprisingly, that people could relate to Oprah just fine.”

Following the ceremony, some of the recipients and guests, including members of Kennedy’s family visited the gravesite of President Kennedy along with President Obama, who laid a wreath beside the eternal flame, marking the anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination 50 years ago in November.

Other notable attendants included:  Steven Spielberg, Ethel Kennedy, President John Kennedy’s grandson, Jack Schlossberg, Gayle King, Hillary Clinton, and Congressman John Lewis.  

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