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President Barack Obama opened a day of tributes to former President John F. Kennedy on Wednesday by bestowing the Presidential Medal of Freedom on prominent Americans, 50 years after Kennedy was assassinated weeks short of the medal’s first award ceremony.

Obama presented the medal — the highest award the U.S. gives a civilian — to entertainer Oprah Winfrey, former President Bill Clinton, and leaders from the worlds of sports, entertainment, science and public service. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Steven Spielberg were among those gathered in the East Room of the White House to watch the ceremony.

“Today, we salute fierce competitors who became true champions,” Obama said, pausing to speak in personal terms about each of the recipients and their contributions to society.

The ceremony marks the start of a day honoring Kennedy’s legacy two days before the nation pauses to remember the 50th anniversary of his assassination. Later, Obama will pay a visit to the eternal flame that marks John F. Kennedy’s gravesite. He’ll be joined by first lady Michelle Obama and the Clintons at the ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

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article courtesy of TheGrio.com

 

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