Loretta Lynn to receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

Loretta Lynn

Today, President Barack Obama named sixteen recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, one of which just happens to be Loretta Lynn.

According to the 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. The awards will be presented at the White House later this year. 

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Executive Order signed by President John F. Kennedy establishing the Presidential Medal of Freedom, as well as the first ceremony bestowing the honor on an inaugural class of 31 recipients.  Since that time, more than 500 exceptional individuals from all corners of society have been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 

President Obama said of this year's honorees, “The Presidential Medal of Freedom goes to men and women who have dedicated their own lives to enriching ours. 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. It will be my honor to present them with a token of our nation's gratitude."

Joining Loretta at the ceremony to be held sometime later this year (date not given yet) include:

  • Ernie Banks – baseball player and Baseball Hall of Famer 
  • Ben Bradlee – executive editor of The Washington Post
  • Bill Clinton – 42nd President of the United States
  • Daniel Inouye (posthumous) – lifelong public servant, Medal of Honor recipient, first Japanese American to serve in Congress
  • Daniel Kahneman – pioneering scholar of psychology, 2002 Nobel Prize winner in Economics 
  • Richard Lugar – U.S. Senator for more than 30 years 
  • Mario Molina – chemist and environmental scientist, Nobel Prize winn in Chemistry 
  • Sally Ride (posthumous) - first American female astronaut to travel to space.  
  • Bayard Rustin (posthumous) - civil rights activitst and adviser to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 
  • Arturo Sandoval – jazz trumpeter, pianist, and composer 
  • Dean Smith – former head coach of the University of North Carolina basketball team from 1961 to 1997.  
  • Gloria Steinem – writer and activist for women’s equality.  
  • Cordy Tindell “C.T.” Vivian – minister, author, and organizer. Civil Rights leader and friend to Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 
  • Patricia Wald – first woman appointed to the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia 
  • Oprah Winfrey – come on, it's Oprah