On April 26, 2012, President Obama announced 13 recipients
of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. "Each of them has made a lasting contribution to the life of our Nation," Obama said. "They've challenged us, they’ve inspired us, and they’ve made the world a better place."
Recipients not included in this gallery are former Assistant Attorney General John Doar, who fought to enforce civil rights in the 1960s; William Foege, a physician and epidemiologist who helped eradicate smallpox in the 1970s; Gordon Hirabayashi, a professor and advocate who openly defied the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II; and Jan Karski, an officer of the Polish Underground during World War II who was among the first to share with the world his eye-witness account of the Holocaust.
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Astronaut, Senator and United States Marine Corps pilot John Glenn was the first American in space, the first American to orbit the earth, and at 77, became the oldest person to visit space. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in Ohio in 1974, and helped design the 1978 Nuclear Nonproliferation Act. He has also received the Congressional Gold Medal and the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.
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