And the Medals of Freedom Go to...

Oprah, Clinton, Steinem among this year's recipients

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 9, 2013 3:14 AM CDT

(Newser) – This year marks the 50th anniversary of the executive order, signed by President Kennedy, establishing the highest US civilian honor. "The Presidential Medal of Freedom goes to men and women who have dedicated their own lives to enriching ours," President Obama said. "This year's honorees have been blessed with extraordinary talent, but what sets them apart is their gift for sharing that talent with the world." A list of this year's recipients, some posthumous, via USA Today and the AP:

  • Oprah Winfrey, TV host, actress, philanthropist
  • Bill Clinton, former president and current activist
  • Gloria Steinem, leading women's rights activist
  • Ben Bradlee, Washington Post editor during Watergate
  • Ernie Banks, Chicago Cubs player
  • Loretta Lynn, country singer
  • Arturo Sandoval, musician and defector from Cuba
  • Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize winner in economics
  • Maria Molina, Nobel Prize winner in chemistry
  • CT Vivian, civil rights activist
  • Patricia Wald, pioneering federal judge
  • Dean Smith, former University of North Carolina basketball coach
  • Richard Lugar, former Indiana senator
  • Sally Ride, the first US woman in space
  • Daniel Inouye, former senator and Congress' first Japanese-American
  • Bayard Rustin, advocate for civil and gay rights

In this May 30, 2013 file photo, Oprah Winfrey speaks during Harvard University's commencement ceremonies in Cambridge, Mass.
In this May 30, 2013 file photo, Oprah Winfrey speaks during Harvard University's commencement ceremonies in Cambridge, Mass.   (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)
Former President Bill Clinton speaks during a meeting of the State Budget Crisis Task Force at the National Constitution Center, Tuesday, June 25, 2013, in Philadelphia.
Former President Bill Clinton speaks during a meeting of the State Budget Crisis Task Force at the National Constitution Center, Tuesday, June 25, 2013, in Philadelphia.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
In this Aug. 9, 2011 file photo, Gloria Steinem is interviewed by The Associated Press in New York.
In this Aug. 9, 2011 file photo, Gloria Steinem is interviewed by The Associated Press in New York.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
In this June 11, 2012 file photo, Ben Bradlee, former executive editor of The Washington Post, is at the Watergate office building in Washington.
In this June 11, 2012 file photo, Ben Bradlee, former executive editor of The Washington Post, is at the Watergate office building in Washington.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)
This March 31, 2008 file photo shows Chicago Cubs Hall of Fame baseball player Ernie Banks.
This March 31, 2008 file photo shows Chicago Cubs Hall of Fame baseball player Ernie Banks.   (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)
In this Feb. 21, 2008 file photo, Loretta Lynn poses for photographers at the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame in Lexington, Ky.
In this Feb. 21, 2008 file photo, Loretta Lynn poses for photographers at the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame in Lexington, Ky.   (AP Photo/James Crisp, File)
This May 21, 2013 file photo shows Jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval performing at the Library of Congress in Washington.
This May 21, 2013 file photo shows Jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval performing at the Library of Congress in Washington.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)
This Oct. 9, 2002 file photo shows psychology professor Daniel Kahneman.
This Oct. 9, 2002 file photo shows psychology professor Daniel Kahneman.   (AP Photo/Daniel Hulshizer, File)
In this Jan. 4, 2012 photo, civil rights activist C.T. Vivian speaks to a journalist at his home in Atlanta. Vivian has been named the new vice president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Vivian, a close friend of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., will be taking over the...
In this Jan. 4, 2012 photo, civil rights activist C.T. Vivian speaks to a journalist at his home in Atlanta. Vivian has been named the new vice president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference....   (AP Photo/David Goldman)
FILE This Feb. 15, 2000 file photo shows Judge Patricia Wald in The Hague. President Barack Obama will bestow the nation’s highest civilian honor on Oprah Winfrey and former President Bill Clinton later this year. Clinton and Winfrey will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House along...
FILE This Feb. 15, 2000 file photo shows Judge Patricia Wald in The Hague. President Barack Obama will bestow the nation’s highest civilian honor on Oprah Winfrey and former President Bill Clinton later...   (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)
This Dec. 8, 2006 file photo shows former North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith.
This Dec. 8, 2006 file photo shows former North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith.   (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)
In this Nov. 13, 2012 file photo, then-Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind. is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington.
In this Nov. 13, 2012 file photo, then-Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind. is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
In this May 13, 2003 file photo, Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, is seen in Reno, Nev.
In this May 13, 2003 file photo, Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, is seen in Reno, Nev.   (AP Photo/Debra Reid, File)
In this Nov. 6, 2012 file photo, then-Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye speaks in Honolulu.
In this Nov. 6, 2012 file photo, then-Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye speaks in Honolulu.   (AP Photo/Marco Garcia, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 18, 1963 file photo, author James Baldwin, right, and Bayard Rustin, deputy director of the March on Washington, talk about civil rights incidents in Alabama during a news conference in New York. The two civil rights leaders called upon President John F. Kennedy to use...
FILE - In this Sept. 18, 1963 file photo, author James Baldwin, right, and Bayard Rustin, deputy director of the March on Washington, talk about civil rights incidents in Alabama during a news conference...   (AP Photo/File)
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