Ellen DeGeneres awarded highest civilian honour in The White House
An emotional exchange took place between Ellen DeGeneres and President of the United States Barack Obama when he presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honour on Tuesday. The honour was given to 20 other artists, athletes, scientists and philanthropists.
As the announcer introduced Ellen DeGeneres for the award, saying “In a career spanning three decades, Ellen De Generes has lifted our spirits and brought joy to our lives as a stand up comic, actor and television star. In every role she reminds us to be kind to one another and treat people as each of us wants to be treated.
At pivotal moments, her courage and candor helped change the hearts and minds of millions of Americans accelerating our nation’s constant drive toward equality and acceptance for all.
Again and again, Ellen DeGeneres has shown us that a single individual can make the world a more fun, more open, more loving place so long as just keep swimming,” and amid cheers and hollers from the attendees an emotional DeGeneres was awarded the honour by President Obama.
Accepting that he feels choke up, Obama said, “It’s easy to forget now, when we’ve come so far, where now marriage is equal under the law, just how much courage was required for Ellen to come out on the most public of stages almost 20 years ago. Just how important it was not just for the LGBT community, but for all us to see somebody so full of kindness and light.
Somebody we liked so much, somebody who could be our neighbor or our colleague or our sister challenge our own assumptions. Remind us that we have more in common than we realize, push our country in the direction of justice. What an incredible burden it was to bear, to risk your career like that. People don’t do that very often.”
He lightened up the emotional state saying that DeGeneres makes us laugh on something, but never on someone. “Except when I danced,” Obama laughed.
Amongst others awarded with the honour were Diana Ross, Tom Hanks, Robert Redford, Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bruce Springsteen and Robert De Niro.