Ellen DeGeneres Receives Presidential Medal of Honor

It was an emotional moment for the talk show host.


In his final Presidential Medal of Honor ceremony, President Barack Obama bestowed 21 individuals with the award, which included activists, athletes, actors, and more. The award is “presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors,” according to the White House.

Ellen DeGeneres was one of the honorees, and her day had gotten off to a rocky start when she forgot to bring her ID to the White House.

The comedian was eventually permitted to enter, where she participated in the mannequin challenge along with fellow award recipients Robert De Niro, Tom Hanks, Bruce Springsteen, Diana Ross, Michael Jordan, and sportscaster Vin Scully.

Upon receiving her medal, DeGeneres got teary-eyed. “In a career spanning three decades, Ellen DeGeneres has lifted our spirits and brought joy to our lives as a stand-up comic, actor, and television star. In every role, she reminds us to be kind to one another, and to treat people as each of us wants to be treated. At a pivotal moment, her courage and candor helped change the hearts and minds of millions of Americans, accelerating our nation’s constant drive for equality and acceptance for all. Again and again, Ellen DeGeneres has shown us that a single individual can make the world a more fun, more open, more loving place, so long as we just keep swimming,” a White House aide said to introduce her.

Other recipients included Robert Redford, Lorne Michaels, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill and Melinda Gates, architect Frank Gehry, Cicely Tyson, NASA computer scientist Margaret H. Hamilton, Vietnam Veterans Memorial designer Maya Lin, polymath physicist Richard Garwin, and more.

Watch the full ceremony below:

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