U.S. President Barack Obama presents his final Presidential Medal of Freedom awards, the nation's highest civilian honor, to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Ellen DeGeneres, Robert De Niro, Bill and Melinda Gates, architect Frank Gehry, Tom Hanks, Michael Jordan, Robert Redford, Diana Ross, and Bruce Springsteen amongst others. Gavino Garay reports.
It's what U.S. President Barack Obama has regarded as one of his favorite annual duties. Presenting the U.S. Medal of Freedom -- regarded as the highest civilian honor in the United States. Obama presented the medal to 21 recipients - a mixture of celebrities from show business, sports, science, technology, philanthropy, and the arts. Among the most recognizable faces were Ellen DeGeneres... Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar... Bill and Melinda Gates. Bruce Springsteen. And Robert De Niro. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SAYING: "These are folks who have helped make me who I am and think about my presidency, and what also makes 'em special is, this is America." Computer scientist Margaret Hamilton, architect Frank Ghery and designer Maya Lin were among the lesser known, yet hugely influential in their respective fields. Obama said the medal is tribute to the idea that irrespective of where it's recipients come from, they've changed America "for the better" and have inspired millions.