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Seventeen to get top civilian honor

FILE - In this Nov. 10, 2015 file photo, Emilio Estefan, left, and Gloria Estefan attend the premiere of the HBO documentary, “The Latin Explosion: A New America”, in New York. The Estefans will be awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Obama at the White House in Washington on Nov. 24. (Photo by Ben Hider/Invision/AP, File) NYET136

FILE - In this Nov. 10, 2015 file photo, Emilio Estefan, left, and Gloria Estefan attend the premiere of the HBO documentary, “The Latin Explosion: A New America”, in New York. The Estefans will be awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Obama at the White House in Washington on Nov. 24. (Photo by Ben Hider/Invision/AP, File) NYET136

WASHINGTON — Barbra Streis­and, Steven Spielberg, Stephen Sondheim, James Taylor, Itzhak Perlman, and Gloria and Emilio Estefan are among the 17 individuals to receive the 2015 Medal of Freedom, the country's highest civilian honor. The honors will be presented in a ceremony Nov. 24 at the White House.

The Estefans were founding members of the Miami Sound Machine, which recorded hits such as Conga and Rhythm is Gonna Get You, and both have been inducted into the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame. The couple has most recently been involved in bringing their story to Broadway with a musical titled, On Your Feet!

President Barack Obama will also salute the achievements of Baseball Hall of Fame member Willie Mays, NASA mathematician Katherine G. Johnson and Bonnie Carroll, a member of the Defense Health Board who has been an advocate for veterans.

Among the public servants honored are Sen. Barbara Mikulski, former congressman and foreign affairs expert Lee Hamilton and former Environmental Protection Agency administrator William Ruckelshaus. Yogi Berra; Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman elected to Congress; Indian rights advocate Billy Frank Jr.; and human rights leader Minoru Yasui will be honored posthumously.

In a statement, Obama said he looks forward to presenting the honor to these distinguished Americans. "From public servants who helped us meet defining challenges of our time to artists who expanded our imaginations, from leaders who have made our union more perfect to athletes who have inspired millions of fans, these men and women have enriched our lives and helped define our shared experience as Americans," he said.

Seventeen to get top civilian honor 11/16/15 [Last modified: Monday, November 16, 2015 8:39pm]
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