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Obama honors Stan Musial, Bill Russell, George H.W. Bush, John Lewis, Maya Angelou, Gerda Klein, Yo-Yo Ma

WASHINGTON–President Obama honored the 2010 Medal of Freedom winners at the White House on Tuesday.

from the White House….

* President George H. W. Bush

George Herbert Walker Bush was the 41st President of the United States.

* Chancellor Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel is the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany.

* Congressman John Lewis

John Lewis is an American hero and a giant of the Civil Rights Movement.

* John H. Adams

John H. Adams co-founded the Natural Resources Defense Council in 1970.

* Maya Angelou

Dr. Maya Angelou is a prominent and celebrated author, poet, educator, producer, actress, filmmaker, and civil rights activist, who is currently the Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University.

* Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett is an American investor, industrialist, and philanthropist. He is one of the most successful investors in the world.

* Jasper Johns

American artist Jasper Johns has produced a distinguished body of work dealing with themes of perception and identity since the mid-1950s.

* Gerda Weissmann Klein

Gerda Weissmann Klein is a Jewish Holocaust survivor who has written several books about her experiences.

* Dr. Tom Little (Posthumous)

Dr. Tom Little was an optometrist who was brutally murdered on August 6, 2010, by the Taliban in the Kuran Wa Munjan district of Badakhshan, Afghanistan, along with nine other members of a team returning from a humanitarian mission to provide vision care in the remote Parun valley of Nuristan.

* Yo-Yo Ma

Yo-Yo Ma is considered the world’s greatest living cellist, recognized as a prodigy since the age of five whose celebrity transcends the world of classical music.

* Sylvia Mendez

Sylvia Mendez is a civil rights activist of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent.

* Stan Musial

Stan “The Man” Musial is a baseball legend and Hall of Fame first baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals. Musial played 22 seasons for the Cardinals from 1941 to 1963.

* Bill Russell

Bill Russell is the former Boston Celtics’ Captain who almost single-handedly redefined the game of basketball.

* Jean Kennedy Smith

In 1974, Jean Kennedy Smith founded VSA, a non-profit organization affiliated with the John F. Kennedy Center that promotes the artistic talents of children, youth and adults with disabilities.

* John J. Sweeney

John J. Sweeney is the current President Emeritus of the AFL-CIO, and served as President of the AFL-CIO from 1995 to 2009.


Invites President of the Illinois AFL-CIO as guest to White House Ceremony

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) congratulated Baseball Hall of Famer Stan “The Man” Musial for being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama earlier today. Musial, widely recognized as one of the greatest baseball players in history, dedicated 22 years to the game of baseball, served in the Navy during World War II and has dedicated the rest of his life to public service and the St. Louis community.

“As a young kid in East St. Louis my most prized possession was my first baseball glove: a Stan Musial Rawlings Special. I rubbed that leather glove with Gloveoleum until I was the only one who could still see his name burned in the leather. I know if I would dig deep in my closet I could still find that Musial glove,” said Durbin. “It is rare in history to find such a public person without a detractor. On the field and off, Stan Musial was always a gentleman, always a champion.”

Durbin asked Margaret Blackshere, life-long St. Louis Cardinals fan and former President of the Illinois AFL-CIO and life-long St. Louis Cardinals fan, to accompany him as his guest to the Medal of Freedom Ceremony in the East Room of the White House. Blackshere served as Secretary-Treasurer of the Illinois AFL-CIO from 1993 to 2000 when she was elected President. Blackshere is the first woman to hold that post. She has served on many boards and councils including United Way, Voices for Illinois Children, Unemployment Insurance advisory board and the Council for Global Affairs. Margaret has traveled throughout the world to improve the lives of workers and their families.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian award bestowed by the President of the United States to recognize individuals who have made an exception contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors. Only 257 Americans have received this honor.