So yesterday the news was all abuzz with the word that President Obama presented Bob Dylan with a Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in America. Every station covered how Obama was influenced by Dylan’s lyrics and musical stylings. Anyone who knows me knows I don’t really care for ‘ol Bob, so should not be surprised that I wanted to know who the other twelve recipients of America’s highest civilian honor were.
Madeline Albright, former Secretary of State and our first woman in that position
John Paul Stevens, a former Supreme Court justice
John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth and Senator from Ohio – kinda more important than Dylan in my book, why hasn’t he received this honor already???
Toni Morrison, one of the most influential authors of the previous 25-30 years
Dolores Huerta, cofounder of the National Farmworkers Association
John Doar, civil rights attorney in the 1960s who helped make it possible for Obama to become PoTUS in the first place
William Foege, former director of the CDC who worked tirelessly to eradicate smallpox, you know that one, like chicken pox on steroids that would kill indiscriminately? Yeah, he should have gotten this award long, long ago
Gordon Hirabayashi, who fought against the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, are we seriously so lax in recognizing the importance of his efforts? 70 years? That’s just sad
Jan Karski, who survived the Holocaust and was among the first to share his experience in a concentration camp. Again, why such a long time to recognize the importance of his impact on the world?
Pat Summit, NCAA women’s basketball coach
Shimon Peres, President of Israel
And most importantly, a woman who has had profound and lasting impact not only on American girls but girls world wide:
Juliet Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts
But what the news covers is that Bob Dylan was given an award for his music. That to me is the most sad and pathetic aspect of this whole ceremony. First, we don’t recognize or award some of these people for their incredible courage and impact on the world for more than 50 years, when we do it’s posthumous, and then the news doesn’t even make a comment on how their contributions helped make America what it is today.
So as an American, I say thank you to Juliet Gordon Low, Jan Karski, Gordon Hirabayashi, William Foege, and John Doar, some of the less glamorous honorees, yet to me the most important, and I’m sorry we didn’t thank you with this award sooner.