Nov 24, 2014

By Michael Kramer

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It’s America’s highest civilian honour:  The Medal of Freedom was bestowed on 18 notable people in Washington today- by U.S. President Barack Obama.

People in the arts received the honour – along with some in sports and politics, as well as a couple of entertainers who are among Obama’s personal favourites.

They gathered in the White House East Room – where the President revealed that the first record he ever bought was by honoree Stevie Wonder – and he also confessed to having a crush on Meryl Streep.

Obama joked,  “Her husband knows I love her. Michelle knows I love her. and there’s nothing either of them can do about it.”

The award is reserved for individuals who have made “meritorious contributions” to U.S. security, world peace or cultural endeavours.

Obama also said he took great pleasure in being able to present the award to Ethel Kennedy – because her brother-in-law, the former president, expanded and elevated the honour more than a half century ago.

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