updated 11/21/2013 AT 12:00 PM ET
•originally published 11/21/2013 AT 12:15 PM ET
The honors were bestowed on a day during which Obama honored the legacy of John F. Kennedy, who created the award, by laying a wreath at the assassinated president’s gravesite as a nation remembers that terrible day in Dallas a half-century ago Friday.
The day of tributes began at the White House, where Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to 16 living and deceased Americans for their contributions in fields ranging from sports and entertainment to science and public service.
The other recipients were baseball player Ernie Banks, journalist Ben Bradlee, Hawaiian Senator Daniel Inouye, psychologist Daniel Kahneman, Indiana Senator Richard Lugar, country legend Loretta Lynn, chemist Mario Molina, astronaut Sally Ride, civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, college basketball coach Dean Smith, Women’s Liberation Movement leader Gloria Steinem, minister Cordy Tindell “C.T.” Vivian and jurist Patricia Wald.
“These are the men and women who in their extraordinary lives remind us all of the beauty of the human spirit, the values that define us as Americans, the potential that lives inside of all of us,” Obama said.