Bob Dylan to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom
With the countless accolades and awards that Bob Dylan has received throughout his 50-plus years in the music industry, you would think that he's achieved everything an artist can possibly hope for, and that there couldn't conceivably be another new honor that could be bestowed upon the legendary musician. But it was just announced that Dylan will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor given by the United States.
Dylan will join Toni Morrison, Madeleine Albright, John Glenn, and nine other dignitaries who will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom in a ceremony at the White House scheduled for late this spring.
President Barack Obama released a statement about this year's esteemed Medal of Freedom recipients: "These extraordinary honorees come from different backgrounds and different walks of life, but each of them has made a lasting contribution to the life of our Nation. They've challenged us, they've inspired us, and they've made the world a better place. I look forward to recognizing them with this award."
The White House praised Dylan's songwriting as well as his humanitarian efforts in an official statement: "One of the most influential American musicians of the 20th century, Dylan released his first album in 1962. Known for his rich and poetic lyrics, his work had considerable influence on the civil rights movement of the 1960s and has had significant impact on American culture over the past five decades. He has won 11 Grammys, including a lifetime achievement award. He was named a Commandeur dans l'Ordre des Art et des Lettres and has received a Pulitzer Prize Special Citation. Dylan was awarded the 2009 National Medal of Arts. He has written more than 600 songs, and his songs have been recorded more than 3,000 times by other artists. He continues recording and touring around the world today."
There is no word on whether or not the nearly 71-year-old Dylan will attend the ceremony, as he is continually immersed in his never-ending world tour, and Dylan has yet to release a statement about receiving this prestigious honor. But seeing that Dylan is the first Minnesota-born Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree since former Chief Justice Warren Burger received his in 1988, you would think Dylan would make some time to attend the ceremony to receive the medal in person. Dylan appears to have no aversion to big events in the Capitol, since he performed recently at the White House Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement in 2010.
And who can forget Dylan's stirring performance at the 1963 March On Washington, shortly before Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech. A worthy honoree, indeed.
The full list of this year's Presidential Medal of Freedom honorees is as follows:
Juliette Gordon Low
John Paul Stevens
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