Before he had to address the grand jury’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson, President Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to 19 recipients yesterday. According to the White House press schedule, via USA Today, “The nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom is awarded 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.”
One honoree was singer-songwriter Stevie Wonder.
When the President introduced the legendary artist, he said, “[Talking Book] was the first album I ever bought with my own money. I was 10 years old, maybe 11 — with my own cash. I didn’t have a lot of it. And that thing got so worn out. Young people, you won’t remember this, but they had albums.”
Other recipients included actors Meryl Streep and Marlo Thomas, composer Stephen Sondheim, author Isabel Allende, Native American author and activist Suzan Harjo and journalist Tom Brokaw, amongst others. President Obama also bestowed three posthumous medals to civil rights activists James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner; the three were murdered during a voter registration drive in Mississippi in 1964. Members of their families accepted the award from President Obama on their behalf. Another posthumous medal was also bestowed upon choreographer Alvin Ailey.
Watch a video of the ceremony from The Telegraph below: