The White House has invited me to cover the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony today. I am so excited for this amazing opportunity. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.
This year, President Obama is giving the Medal of Freedom to two baseball Hall of Famers. The first winner is former San Francisco/New York Giants outfielder Willie Mays, best known for “the catch” in center field during the 1954 World Series. Second, the award is being given to former New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra, who died earlier this year. Both are legends of baseball, and both served in the military.
The other medal recipients include Bonnie Carroll (founder of Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors), Shirley Chisholm (posthumous) (first African-American woman elected to Congress), Emilio Estefan (music producer) and his wife Gloria Estefan (singer), Billy Frank, Jr. (posthumous) (advocate for Indian treaty rights), Lee Hamilton (former congressman and vice chairman of 9/11 Commission), Katherine G. Johnson (NASA mathematician), Barbara Mikulski (longest serving female US senator), Itzhak Perlman (conductor and violinist), William Ruckelshaus (environmentalist), Stephen Sondheim (composer), Steven Spielberg (movie director), Barbra Streisand (singer), James Taylor (singer), Minoru Yasui (posthumous) (human rights leader).
The ceremony will be streamed live from the East Room of the White House at 5:00 today (Tuesday, November 24) at www.whitehouse.gov/live. I will be posting pictures on Twitter (@MattsBats) and my private Instagram account of the same name.