Presidential Medal of Freedom awards handed out

Presidential Medal of Freedom awards handed out

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama awarded the nation's highest civilian honor to 21 groundbreaking actors, musicians, athletes and others during a ceremony Tuesday at the White House.

Among those who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom: actors Tom Hanks, Robert De Niro and Robert Redford.

Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, two of the best basketball players ever, were also among the honorees.

Bruce Springsteen and Diana Ross were recognized for their music.

Other honorees included philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates, comedian Ellen DeGeneres and broadcaster Vin Scully.

Obama says the people receiving the medal helped push America forward and inspired millions around the world.

The award recognizes especially meritorious contributions to the national interests of the United States, to its culture, or to other significant endeavors.

AP Modified 2016