Presidential Medal of Freedom Highlights “Points of Light”

Feb 16, 2011

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Picture credit: Jim Watson / AFP/Getty Images / February 15, 2011

Yesterday, in Washington, President Barack Obama highlighted the impressive achievements of the 2010 Presidential Freedom award winners at the White House. President Obama said, “This year’s Medal of Freedom recipients reveal the best of who we are and who we aspire to be.”

President Obama pointed out how one person can make a difference: “Generations from now, when parents teach their children what is meant by courage, the story of John Lewis will come to mind: an American who knew that change could not wait for some other person or some other time.”

Through the award winners President Obama shared strong American individual attributes that make up our nation:

When you look at the men and women who are here today, it says something about who we are as a people.  When we award this medal to a Congressman John Lewis, it says that we aspire to be a more just, more equal, more perfect union.  When we award it to a Jasper Johns, it says we value the original and the imaginative.  When we award it to a Warren Buffett, it says we’d all like to be so humble and wise. . .  And when we award it to former President George H. W. Bush, it says we celebrate an extraordinary life of service and of sacrifice.

George H. W. Bush was recognized for his impact on civic engagement as a person who has devoted nearly 70 of his 86 years to public service, starting on his 18th birthday the moment he joined the Navy.  President Obama praised Bush saying:

His life is a testament that public service is a noble calling. . . I would add that, like the remarkable Barbara Bush, his humility and his decency reflects the very best of the American spirit.  Those of you who know him, this is a gentleman; inspiring citizens to become “points of light” in service to others.

To honor George H. W. Bush or highlight a Point of Light in your life write a Tribute that will be posted on our online wall and share their extraordinary accomplishments whether they are original and imaginative like Jasper Johns or pro-active like Congressman John Lewis.

To read more and see NBC’s coverage of the event, click here

To read the full Transcript of the ceremony click here.