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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 51, December 17, 2006, Article 20

2007 PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL OF FREEDOM AWARDEES

President Bush awarded the Medal of Freedom to several U.S. citizens
this week.  The Call of Kansas City profiled one awardee in a lengthy
article:

"John “Buck” O’Neil is finally experiencing what the old Negro hymn
so graciously shouts -- free at last."

"The former Kansas City Monarch and Negro Leagues legend was awarded
the Presidential Medal of Freedom, given to America’s finest and such
sports legends as Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron, Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio,
Arthur Ashe, Jesse Owens, Roberto Clemente, Jack Nicklaus and Muhammad
Ali. O’Neil will join Blues legend B.B. King who will also receive the
Medal of Freedom next week."

"The first African American coach in Major League Baseball history, who
also scouted some of the greatest baseball players of all-time, O’Neil
received numerous awards in his lifetime, but none carry the prestige
which accompanies the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

"The Presidential Medal of Freedom is one of the two highest civilian
awards in the United States given by the President.  The other major
civilian award is the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

There are ten awardees in all this year, honored at a White House
ceremony December 15.  O'Neill's award comes posthumously, but several
of the awardees accepted them in person.  An Associated Press article
lists them in alphabetical order: Ruth Johnson Colvin, Norman C.
Francis, Paul Johnson, B.B. King, Joshua Lederberg, David McCullough,
Norman Y. Mineta, John "Buck" O'Neil, William Safire and Natan
Sharansky.

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

[I've had the pleasure of seeing blues legend B. B. King in concert
several times, and actually met another one of the awardees, historian
David McCullough.  The Martha's Vinyard Times interviewed him about
the award. -Editor]

"President Harry Truman established the award in 1945 to honor service
during WWII. It was later revived by President John F. Kennedy. For Mr.
McCullough, The historical connection to President Truman has a special
significance.

"Mr. McCullough won his first Pulitzer Prize in 1993 for "Truman,"
his bestselling biography, published by Simon and Schuster."

"Speaking with the scholarly grace and ease that characterizes him in
person and in his more public roles, Mr. McCullough said that the honor
was not his alone but belonged to the many people - editors, librarians,
researchers and others - who had helped him along the way and taken
an interest in his work."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

For more background on the medal, see medaloffreedom.com

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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