Bob Dylan will be one of several distinguished recipients honored today when President Barack Obama presents the highest civilian award in the United States, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The award recognizes individuals in various fields who have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
Other notable recipients include former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, astronaut John Glenn, and women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt.
In addition to Dylan, Albright, Glenn and Summit, President Obama will also bestow the honor upon author Toni Morrison, former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low, former President of Israel Shimon Peres, former assistant attorney general John Doar, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention William Foege, Gordon Hirabayashi, who fought the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, Jan Karski, a resistance fighter against the Nazi occupation of Poland during World War II, and co-founder of the National Farmworkers Association Dolores Huerta.
Dylan, who provided a voice for the counterculture during the turbulent 1960s, is the latest musician to receive the award. Notable artists from the past include Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, B. B. King and Frank Sinatra.