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The White House announced President Biden’s first list of Presidential Medal of Freedom honorees

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Seventeen people will receive the country’s highest civilian honor next Thursday. Among them:

  • Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who survived an assassination attempt in 2011 and became a gun control advocate, and actor Denzel Washington will receive honors.
  • Athletes Simone Biles and Megan Rapinoe will each get another medal they can add to their already extensive trophy cases. They join the exclusive club of only four other women athletes and coaches to receive the award.

A few other awardees:

  • Posthumous medals will be given to former Apple CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs, Republican Senator John McCain, and union leader Richard Trumka.
  • Civil rights leaders Fred Gray Sr., the attorney who filed the petition to challenge Alabama’s bus segregation, and Diane Nash, one of the most important student civil rights organizers of the 20th century.
  • Sandra Lindsay, the NYC Covid nurse who was the first person in the US to get the Covid vaccine outside of clinical trials. 

Joe Biden Thank You GIF by The Democrats

The Presidential Medal of Freedom award was established by JFK in 1963, but was first presented by President Lyndon B. Johnson after Kennedy’s assassination.

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