The US government has no higher award with which to honor a civilian’s achievements than the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Handed out at the discretion of the Commander in Chief, the MoF celebrates “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.” President Biden announced the first slate of MoF recipients of his administration on Friday, a list that includes former Apple CEO, Steve Jobs.
President Biden’s nominees for this award class number 17. They include luminaries like Olympic-winning gymnast Simone Biles, retired Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, Gold Star Father Khizr Khan, former US Senator John McCain (posthumous), former president of the AFL-CIO Richard Trumka (posthumous), and the most clearly worthy recipient of the group, Denzel Washington.
The MoF has only been awarded 647 times since it was established by President Kennedy in 1963, and of those, just 26 people have been awarded it “with distinction.” The awards will be presented at the White House on July 7, 2022.