Ten time Grammy Award winning troubadourwas named one of 13 recipients for the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President on Thursday April 26. President Obama called Dylan, “one of the most influential American musicians of the 20th century.” Dylan and his fellow Medal winners will receive their awards in a special induction ceremony in the next few months.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is presented to persons who have made meritorious contributions to the interests of the United States, to the advancement of world peace, or to cultural endeavours. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest award available to a civilian in the United States.
Born Robert Allen Zimmerman on May 24, 1941 in Duluth, Minnesota; Bob Dylan changed his name to Dylan – after his favourite poet Dylan Thomas – because he didn’t think Zimmerman was a memorable star name. Since beginning his musical career over 50 years ago, Dylan has earned an Oscar Award, 10 Grammy Awards, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, the Mercury Polar Prize, received the National Medal of the Arts, been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame, inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and seen both of the “Greatest Hits” albums being certified five times platinum for selling five million copies each.
Joining Dylan as recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom are former Secretary of State- the first woman to hold the position; civil rights leader and former assistant attorney general John Doar; Dr. William Foege – who helped to eradicate smallpox in the seventies; former Senator, Marine, and Astronaut – although the third man in space, Glenn was the first astronaut to orbit the Earth; Gordon Hirabayashi who openly defied the order of internment during World War II – he award will be presented posthumously; civil and women’s rights worker, co-founded of the National Farmworkers Association, and founder of her own Foundation Dolores Huerta; Jan Karski was an officer in the Polish Underground in World War II – his Medal will be awarded posthumously; Girl Scout Founder Juliette Gordon Low – her Medal will be awarded posthumously; novelist Toni Morrison; Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres; Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens; and University of Tennessee Woman’s Basketball coach Pat Summitt