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 Home > News & Policies > November 2005

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
November 3, 2005

Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipients

President George W. Bush today announced the recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Nation's highest civil award. Established by Executive Order 11085 in 1963, the Medal may be awarded by the President "to any person who has made an especially meritorious contribution to (1) the security or national interests of the United States, or (2) world peace, or (3) cultural or other significant public or private endeavors." President Bush will honor these recipients at a White House ceremony on Wednesday, November 9, 2005.

Muhammad Ali is one of the greatest athletes of all time. He was the first three-time heavyweight boxing champion of the world, successfully defended the title 19 times, and was a Gold Medalist for the United States at the 1960 Olympic Games.

Carol Burnett is one of America's most accomplished comediennes and actresses. She debuted on Broadway in 1959 and starred for more than a decade on The Carol Burnett Show. Ms. Burnett won a special place in the hearts of people across America through her combination of creativity, humor, and compassion.

Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn designed the software code that is used to transmit data over the Internet. Dr. Cerf and Dr. Kahn have been at the forefront of a digital revolution that has transformed global commerce, communication, and entertainment.

Robert Conquest is a historian known for his groundbreaking work on Soviet history, politics, and foreign policy. More than 35 years after its publication, his landmark book, The Great Terror: Stalin's Purge of the Thirties, remains one of the most influential studies of Soviet history and has been translated into more than 20 languages.

Aretha Franklin has brought joy to millions with her music. She has nearly two dozen number-one singles and has won numerous awards. Ms. Franklin was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Alan Greenspan has chaired the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve for the last 18 years. Mr. Greenspan has been an extraordinary leader who has made great contributions to America's economic growth and prosperity.

Andy Griffith is an American icon of the stage, cinema, and television. He first achieved national acclaim in the 1950s for his stand-up comedy routines, and he went on to star in television shows such as The Andy Griffith Show and Matlock, as well as numerous Broadway productions and films.

Paul Harvey is one of America's most respected radio personalities and has set a standard of excellence for broadcasters. Since his radio broadcasts first aired nationally in 1951, Mr. Harvey has won the trust of millions of radio listeners.

Sonny Montgomery was a champion for veterans during his 30 years as a Member of the House of Representatives from Mississippi. His signature achievement was the Montgomery GI Bill, which has helped make education affordable for millions of veterans.

General Richard B. Myers served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during one of the most challenging and dangerous periods in American history. General Myers was at the forefront of preparing America's armed forces to meet the threats of the new century. His tenure was marked by the toppling of brutal dictatorships in Afghanistan and Iraq and the liberation of more than 50 million people.

Jack Nicklaus is the greatest professional golfer of all time. He won 18 majors as a professional, the first in 1962 and the last in 1986, and he won more than 70 PGA Tour events.

Frank Robinson is one of the greatest baseball players ever. Among his awards are National League Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player in both the American and National Leagues, and the American League Triple Crown in 1966. He also has been a top manager and earned Manager of the Year in the American League in 1989. He broke the color barrier for managers, becoming Major League Baseball's first African-American manager in 1975.

Paul Rusesabagina demonstrated courage and compassion by sheltering people at the hotel he managed during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. By risking his own life, he helped to save the lives of more than 1,000 fellow Rwandans. Mr. Rusesabagina's selfless acts have inspired millions, and he represents the best of the human spirit.

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