(February 15, 2011) President Barack Obama awarded the prestigious Medal of Freedom to fifteen people in a ceremony at the White House. Topping the list was former US President George H.W. Bush.
Two prominent leaders in the Irish-American community were also recipients: Jean Kennedy Smith, former US Ambassador to Ireland and founder of Very Special Arts, and John J. Sweeney, President of the AFL-CIO from 1995 to 2009.
The Medal of Freedom is the nation's highest civilian honor, and is presented to individuals who have made 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.
For a full list of the Medal of Freedom winners, click here.