Medal of Freedom: Obama honours Gates, others
US President Barack Obama has honoured Bill and Melinda Gates along with 20 other luminaries with the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom honour, who inspired him over the years and “helped make me who I am.”
“Today, we celebrate extraordinary Americans who have lifted our spirits, strengthened our union, pushed us toward progress,” Obama said as he presented the prestigious presidential medal of freedom to 21 people.
“Everybody on this stage has touched me in a very powerful, personal way, in ways that they probably couldn’t imagine,” said the outgoing US president.
In addition to Bill and Melinda Gates, other prominent recipients to this award were Margaret H Hamilton, who led the team that created the on-board flight software for NASA’s Apollo command modules and lunar modules; Ellen DeGeneres, an award-winning comedian; Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who is the National Basketball Association’s all-time leading scorer.
Richard Garwin, a polymath physicist; and Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, known as “Amazing Grace” and “the first lady of software,” was at the forefront of computers and programming development from the 1940s through the 1980s.
“For two decades, the Gates Foundation has worked to provide lifesaving medical care to millions – boosting clean water supplies, improving education for our children, rallying aggressive international action on climate change, cutting childhood mortality in half,” Obama said.