The Medal of Freedom award was awarded to more than a dozen significant political and cultural figures on May 29.
President Barack Obama called each of the 13 Medal of Freedom recipients his personal heroes, saying they have significantly impacted his life.
Among the Medal of Freedom recipients, music star Bob Dylan was greeted with exceptional praise.
Wearing his signature sunglasses and a suit adorned with buttons and buckles, Dylan, 71, accepted the Medal of Freedom award from an lively audience. Still, his biggest admiration came from Medal of Freedom awarder President Obama.
Obama said he recalled listening to him during his time in college, saying Dylan’s music opened his eyes to the world because he “captured something about this country that was so vital.”
Dylan, who is best known for his folk songs Like a Rolling Stone, Mr. Tambourine Man and Blowin’ in the Wind, is famous for embodying the American life in his songs, especially during the ‘60s and ‘70s.
President Obama especially cited Dylan for his music’s immeasurable impact on the American music culture as a whole.
“There is not a bigger giant in the history of American music,” Obama said at the Medal of Freedom ceremony.
The White House awards the Medal of Freedom award to those who have made “meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States or to world peace or to cultural or other significant endeavors.”
Other recipients of the Medal of Freedom at the May 29 ceremony included author Toni Morrison, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, astronaut John Glenn, and former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, Israeli president Shimon Peres and artist Jasper Johns.