2012 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients(12 images)

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.

Madeleine Albright
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was the first woman to hold that position. As secretary, she worked with NATO to combat ethnic cleansing in the Balkans and the spread of nuclear weapons across the globe. She is a professor at Georgetown University, an author of five books, chairs the National Democratic Institute and is the President of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation. File/UPI/Alexis C. Glenn. | License Photo
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