Skip to comments.Variety of celebrities get presidential medal
Posted on 11/10/2005 9:05:38 AM PST by Graybeard58
WASHINGTON -- Aretha Franklin couldn't hold back the tears. Carol Burnett pranced coquettishly for the cameras. Muhammad Ali, though unable to walk unassisted, mimed boxing jabs with President Bush.
Having the president fasten the Medal of Freedom around your neck while an announcer booms your life's greatest accomplishments apparently does something even to those most accustomed to fame and fortune.
Last year, Bush chose three architects of his Iraq agenda as the sole award winners -- and drew fire for it.
This year's 14 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the government's highest civilian honor, were divided about equally between sports and entertainment celebrities and prominent figures from the more sober worlds of economics, science, letters and policy.
They ranged from Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan to Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn, who designed a language for data transmission that gave rise to the Internet, and to golfer Jack Nicklaus and actor Andy Griffith.
Only one -- Paul Rusesabagina, the hotelier whose shelter of hundreds of people from the 1994 Rwandan genocide was the subject of the movie "Hotel Rwanda" -- was under 60. Actor Don Cheadle, who played Rusesabagina in the movie, snapped pictures from the back of the audience.
White House stewards -- and even Bush himself -- stepped in to help several recipients navigate the nearly hourlong ceremony. Ali suffers from Parkinson's disease and other ailments, and radio personality Paul Harvey, former Rep. Sonny Montgomery and Soviet historian Robert Conquest are all well into their 80s.
The other winners were: Gen. Richard Myers, the recently retired chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and baseball great Frank Robinson.
Bush saved Ali for last.
"When you say, 'The Greatest of All Time is in the room,' everyone knows who you mean," Bush said. "It's quite a claim to make. But as Muhammad Ali once said, `It's not bragging if you can back it up.' And this man backed it up."
Ali sat unsmiling, showing no reaction. Then Bush jokingly mimed a few punches in Ali's direction.
Ali didn't disappoint, coming right back at Bush to make a small circular hand movement -- and then repeating it toward the cameras just to be sure he'd been seen.
I saw it on Fox and it was very moving! Watched the Ali segment and then Aretha who was crying.
While Rome burns and the conservative base puts you in the "placeholder President" at best category, tonedeaf and tired category at worst.
Was Andy Griffith there?
I'm so jaded anymore.
I used to enjoy this stuff, but anymore, I just can't get into watching a bunch of entertainers be received and honored in such a way.
What they do has purpose, but I think we make a mistake to make heros out of them.
It's not clear what Mohammad Ali did to deserve a Medal of Freedom - Frank Robinson either.
Joined the "religion of peace" and threw in with the communists, refusing to serve his country during Vietnam? Surely that deserves an MOF. < /sarcasm >
I must disagree in the case of Robert Conquest.
All these worthies standing around basking in their collective magnificence - I wonder how many people know that Republicans killed off ANWR drilling yesterday, something that has actual significance?
Of course not. Congress has much more important things to worry about than ANWR anyway - like legislating suspensions for steroid use in major league baseball.
"Joined the "religion of peace" and threw in with the communists, refusing to serve his country during Vietnam? Surely that deserves an MOF. < /sarcasm >"
I remember when all that happened. I WONDERED about all that during the award ceremony yesterday.
Andy Griffith was there and, IMO, was the most deserving, even though I used to love Carol Burnett's show with Harvey Korman and Tim Conway. There used to be a lot of good, clean entertainment on TV. These days, even That 70s Show has turned to pure trash.
Giving medals to celebrities is so...French!
Paul Rusesabagina was a hero in Rwanda. In addition, that particular Medal is a spit in the face toward the UN for what they failed to do.
Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn helped to make the internet possible. This helped the US experience a spectacular economic boom. Alan Greenspan also had his part in the boom.
Although entertainers, Andy Griffith and Carol Burnett helped the country along by providing good clean fun for millions. I appreciate both of them, especially when you look at the junk out there now.
"I think we make a mistake to make heros out of them."
Better the most of this group than the trash that is currently being idolized.
I just think entertainers should not be in the same category as others.
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