(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama will award the Medal of Freedom -- the nation's highest civilian honor -- to 15 recipients Tuesday, which include a former president, a famous poet and a Hall of Fame baseball player.
The medal is awarded annually "to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors."
The 15 honorees were announced last year in November and "come from a broad range of backgrounds and they’ve excelled in a broad range of fields, but all of them have lived extraordinary lives that have inspired us, enriched our culture, and made our country and our world a better place," President Obama said.
The 2010 Medal of Freedom recipients are:
-- Former President George H. W. Bush
-- Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Angela Merkel
-- Rep. John Lewis of Georgia
-- Co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council, John H. Adams
-- Author, poet, actress and civil rights activist, Dr. Maya Angelou
-- Investor, industrialist and philanthropist, Warren Buffett
-- Artist, Jasper Johns
-- Jewish Holocaust survivor, Gerda Weissmann Klein
-- Optometrist, Dr. Tom Little (Posthumous)
-- Cellist, Yo-Yo Ma
-- Civil rights activist, Sylvia Mendez
-- National baseball Hall of Fame first baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals, Stan “The Man” Musial
-- Former Boston Celtics Captain and five-time NBA Most Valuable Player, Bill Russell
-- Founder of the non-profit organization VSA, Jean Kennedy Smith
-- Current President Emeritus of the AFL-CIO, John J. Sweeney
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