November 18, 2010 in Nation/World

Ex-president, athletes among medal winners

Associated Press

WASHINGTON – President George H.W. Bush, poet Maya Angelou and investor Warren Buffett are among the 2010 winners of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

President Barack Obama will present the awards to the 15 honorees early next year, the White House announced Wednesday.

Other winners include a civil rights hero, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., plus St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Famer Stan “The Man” Musial, Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

Obama’s bipartisan gesture in picking the first President Bush for the honor is not unprecedented. Former President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, awarded a Medal of Freedom to former Republican President Gerald Ford.

Others to be honored are American artist Jasper Johns; Holocaust survivor Gerda Weissmann Klein; Dr. Tom Little, an optometrist murdered last August by the Taliban in Afghanistan; civil rights activist Sylvia Mendez; Jean Kennedy Smith, who served as U.S. ambassador to Ireland; former AFL-CIO president John Sweeney; and environmentalist John H. Adams.

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