Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

15 'who we aspire to be'

Calling them "the best of who we are and who we aspire to be," President Barack Obama presented the Medal of Freedom to 15 recipients Tuesday at the White House. The Medal of Freedom is the nation's highest civilian honor and is presented to people who have made important contributions to U.S. national security, world peace, culture or other significant public or private endeavors. These are this year's recipients:

Bill Russell, former NBA great who led the Boston Celtics to a string of 11 championships in 13 years and an impassioned advocate of human rights.

George H.W. Bush, 86, 41st president of the United States; vice president in the Reagan administration; CIA director; World War II Navy veteran.

Maya Angelou, 82, celebrated author, poet, educator, producer, actor, filmmaker and civil rights activist.

Yo-Yo Ma, 55, a renowned cellist, recognized as a prodigy since the age of 5, whose celebrity transcends the world of classical music. He made his Carnegie Hall debut at age 9.

U.S. Rep. John Lewis, American hero and a giant of the civil rights movement.

Jasper Johns, American artist, produced a distinguished body of work dealing with themes of perception and identity since the mid 1950s.

Stan Musial, 90, a baseball legend and Hall of Famer for the St. Louis Cardinals who retired after the 1963 season with a .331 batting average and 475 home runs.

Warren Buffett, American investor, industrialist and philanthropist. He is one of the most successful investors in the world.

Jean Kennedy Smith, founded VSA (in 1974), a non-profit organization affiliated with the John F. Kennedy Center that promotes the artistic talents of children, youth and adults with disabilities.

Gerda Weissmann Klein, a Jewish Holocaust survivor who has written several books about her experiences.

John J. Sweeney, president emeritus of the AFL-CIO; served as president of the AFL-CIO from 1995 to 2009.

Dr. Tom Little (posthumous), an optometrist murdered Aug. 6, 2010, by the Taliban in Afghanistan, with nine other members of a team returning from a humanitarian mission to provide vision care in the remote Parun valley of Nuristan.

Angela Merkel, chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany. She is the first former East German and first woman to hold the position.

Sylvia Mendez, a civil rights activist of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent, who devoted her life to spreading a message of tolerance after her parents successfully sued to desegregate California schools.

John H. Adams, co-founded the Natural Resources Defense Council in 1970.

15 'who we aspire to be' 02/15/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 15, 2011 10:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Video: Loggerhead sea turtle found in Islamorada resident's pool


    An adult female loggerhead sea turtle, discovered in an oceanside residential pool in Islamorada on Monday, has been rescued and released off the Florida Keys.

    An adult female loggerhead sea turtle, discovered in an oceanside residential pool in Islamorada on June 22, 2017, has been rescued and released off the Florida Keys. [Photo from video]

  2. What Wilson Ramos will mean to the Rays lineup, pitching

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chris Archer was stumping for all-star votes for Corey Dickerson during a live interview Wednesday morning on the MLB Network when he lifted the right earpiece on his headset and said, "I hear a buffalo coming."

    Tampa Bay Rays catcher Wilson Ramos (40) waves to the crowd after being presented with the Silver Slugger Award before the start of the game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, April 4, 2017.
  3. Deon Cain, Duke Dawson, Derrick Nnadi among SI's top 100 players


    Sports Illustrated's countdown of the top 100 players in college football continues with three more local players.

  4. She doesn't care if you accept her, as long as you respect her

    Human Interest

    Mary Jane Taylor finds strength walking quietly among the dead.

    Mary Jane Taylor,18, visits Oaklawn Cemetery in downtown Tampa when she is feeling low. "When I hit my low points in life I go the the graveyard," she says. "people are afraid of the graveyard. I love the graveyard." The transgender teen recently graduated from Jefferson High School. She is  enrolled in summer classes at Santa Fe College in Gainesville studying international business. She plans to transfer to the University of Florida, attend law school and become a civil rights lawyer. (JOHN PENDYGRAFT   |   Times)
  5. Few new details in state investigation of Tarpon Springs officer-involved shooting of Nick Provenza

    Public Safety

    TARPON SPRINGS — An investigative report, released this week by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, into the officer-involved shooting that killed 25-year-old Nick Provenza included largely the same narrative prosecutors released this month that ruled the shooting a "justifiable homicide."

    Stopping while riding by on his bike Michael Prater, 15, hangs his head after looking at the memorial at Safford and Tarpon avenues for Nick Provenza, a 25-year-old who was shot and killed there during a car show Saturday by a Tarpon Springs police officer. Investigators said Provenza pulled a knife on the cop who shot him. Friends find it hard to believe a man they described as a peaceful vegan and musician would be capable of such an act. Prater didn't know the victim but was at the car show.