Dylan gets the country's highest civilian honor along with other influential figures such as renowned writer Toni Morrison and union pathbreaker Dolores Huerta.
Bob Dylan was one of the recipients of the nation's highest civilian honor during a ceremony at the White House on May 29. The rock folk musician was awarded Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in front of the press packing inside the East Room.
A big fan of the singer, the commander-in-chief praised the music veteran for having a voice that could affect so many people. "Its unique gravelly power was redefining, not just what music sounded like, but the message it carried and how it made people feel," the President gushed.
He added, "My world opening up because he captured something about this country that was so vital. There is not a bigger giant in the history of American music. All these years later, he's still chasing that sound, still searching for a little bit of truth, and I have to say that I am a really big fan."
Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to 13 recipients, living or dead, who have made meritorious contributions to the national interests of the United States, to world peace or to other significant endeavors.
Other honorees are as follows:
- Madeleine Albright, a Secretary of State who became the first woman to hold the job.
- John Paul Stevens, a former Supreme Court justice who retired as the third longest-serving Justice in the Court's history.
- Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of the Girl Scouts.
- Shimon Peres, President of Israel who's an avid advocate for the country's security and for peace.
- John Doar, a legendary public servant who handled civil rights cases in the 1960s.
- William Foege, the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who helped lead the effort to eradicate smallpox.
- Gordon Hirabayashi, an activist who fought the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
- Jan Karski, a resistance fighter against the Nazi occupation of Poland during World War II. He died in 2000.
- Dolores Huerta, a union pathbreaker who started out as a community organizer.
- Toni Morrison, a renowned writer who became the first African American woman to win a Nobel Prize in 1993.
- Pat Summitt, the all-time winningest leader among all NCAA basketball coaches.
- John Glenn, a former United States Marine Corps pilot who became the first American to orbit the Earth.