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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
November 9, 2005
Citations for Recipients of the 2005 Presidential Medal of Freedom
The President today awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The text of each citation reads as follows:
One of the greatest athletes of all time, Muhammad Ali produced some of America's most lasting sports memories, from winning the Gold Medal at the 1960 Summer Olympics to carrying the Olympic torch at the 1996 Summer Olympics. As the first three-time heavyweight boxing champion of the world, he thrilled, entertained, and inspired us. His deep commitment to equal justice and peace has touched people around the world. The United States honors Muhammad Ali for his lifetime of achievement and for his principled service to mankind.
Carol Burnett's legendary performances have delighted audiences since her Broadway debut in 1959. As a singer, dancer, comedienne, and actress, she has been one of America's most cherished entertainers. The Carol Burnett Show, in which she created so many memorable and humorous characters, was an innovative and immensely popular television show in its time and continues to influence television to this day. The United States honors Carol Burnett for enhancing the lives of millions of Americans and for her extraordinary contributions to American entertainment.
Vinton G. Cerf and Robert E. Kahn
More than 30 years ago, Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn designed the architecture and communication protocol that gave rise to the modern Internet. The innovative work of these two pioneers laid the foundation for a global transformation of communication, commerce, and entertainment. The United States honors Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn for their outstanding contributions to science and for improving the lives of all Americans.
Robert Conquest has written numerous influential books on history, politics, and international affairs, as well as volumes of poetry, fiction, and criticism. The quality and breadth of his work, including his landmark books, The Great Terror and The Harvest of Sorrow, have earned him a wide audience and the respect of scholars and policymakers around the world. His powerful work on the Soviet Union helped reveal the human tragedy of Communism. The United States honors Robert Conquest for his distinguished and profound contributions to the intellectual life of our Nation and the world.
Aretha L. Franklin
The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin has recorded more than 20 number-one singles and revolutionized American music. Her instantly recognizable voice has captivated listeners ever since she toured with her father's gospel revue in the 1950s. She is among our Nation's greatest musical artists and has captured the hearts of millions of Americans. The United States honors Aretha Franklin for her lifetime of achievement and for helping to shape our Nation's artistic and cultural heritage.
As Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System for 18 years, Alan Greenspan has been a steadfast and effective manager of United States monetary policy. With prudence and wisdom, he has helped shepherd our economy through stock market crashes, global fiscal crises, recessions, and national disasters. During his nearly two decades of principled work at the Federal Reserve, he has become the standard by which central bankers are measured. The United States honors Alan Greenspan for his outstanding career of public service and for enhancing the character and prosperity of our Nation.
Andy Samuel Griffith
Andy Griffith is one of America's best-known and most beloved entertainers. After his introduction to a national audience as a stand-up comedian on The Ed Sullivan Show in the 1950s, he went on to star in such celebrated television shows as The Andy Griffith Show and Matlock. As a legend of the stage, cinema, and television, Andy Griffith has built an enduring career and set a standard of excellence in entertainment. He is a man of humor, integrity, and compassion. The United States honors Andy Griffith for demonstrating the finest qualities of our country and for a lifetime of memorable performances that have brought joy to millions of Americans of all ages.
For more than half a century, Paul Harvey has earned the trust of millions of Americans by telling them "the rest of the story." His News and Comment program first aired in 1951, and today his broadcasts reach some 20 million people each week. He has built a proud legacy of integrity and excellence. The United States honors Paul Harvey for his extraordinary career in broadcasting and for his contributions to the intellectual and political life of our Nation.
G. V. Sonny Montgomery
During his three decades as a Member of the House of Representatives from Mississippi, Sonny Montgomery was a tireless champion for America's veterans. A decorated veteran of World War II and the Korean War, Sonny Montgomery brought his personal experience and expertise to his service on the Veterans' Affairs Committee and Armed Services Committee. He sponsored the landmark Montgomery GI Bill, which has helped make higher education and professional and vocational training accessible to millions of America's veterans. The United States honors Sonny Montgomery for his service to our country and for his dedicated work to honor and improve the lives of the men and women who sacrifice for our liberty.
General Richard B. Myers, U.S. Air Force (Ret.)
For four decades, General Richard Myers has served our Nation with honor and distinction. He flew some 600 combat hours in the Vietnam War. He later served as Commander in Chief of North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Space Command. As Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Myers played a central role in our Nation's defense while devoting himself to the well-being of the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States Armed Forces. The United States honors General Richard Myers for his dedication to duty and country and for his contributions to the freedom and security of our Nation.
Jack W. Nicklaus
Jack Nicklaus set the standard for golf excellence. He won 73 PGA Tour events, six Masters, five PGA Championships, four U.S. Opens, three British Opens, and two U.S. Amateurs. From his playoff victory as a 22-year-old at the U.S. Open in 1962 to his legendary charge down the back nine at Augusta in 1986, Jack Nicklaus succeeded with dramatic flair and steely determination. He always conducted himself with class and treated his fellow golfers and fellow Americans with respect. The United States honors Jack Nicklaus for his contributions to American sport and for being the greatest golfer of all time.
Frank Robinson played the game of baseball with total integrity and steadfast determination. He won Most Valuable Player awards in both the National and American Leagues. He achieved the American League Triple Crown in 1966. His teams won five League titles and two World Series championships. In 1975, Frank Robinson broke the color barrier as baseball's first African-American manager, and he later won Manager of the Year awards in both the National and American Leagues. The United States honors Frank Robinson for his extraordinary achievements as a baseball player and manager and for setting a lasting example of character in athletics.
Paul Rusesabagina demonstrated remarkable courage and compassion in the face of genocidal terror. During the Rwandan genocide in 1994, he risked his own life to shelter more than 1,000 fellow Rwandans targeted for murder. His noble and selfless acts have been honored around the world. His life reminds us of our moral duty to confront evil in all its forms. The United States honors Paul Rusesabagina for his spirit and bravery in defending and caring for his fellow man.
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