President Obama Awards Medal of Freedom to Lugar, Winfrey, and More

Wednesday afternoon brought the annual awarding of the Presidential Medal of Freedom—the highest honor given to civilians—to 16 American citizens for their contributions in various fields of works. Among those who president Barack Obama honored at the White House was former Indiana senator Richard Lugar.

Lugar, 81, was recognized for “his visionary work, the destruction of Cold War arsenals in the former Soviet Union.” Obama also praised Lugar’s exemplary bipartisan “problem-solving.”

After being elected to the Senate in 1977, the six-term senator Lugar was finally defeated in an election, in the 2012 Indiana Republican primary, by Tea Party candidate Richard Mourdock, who went on to lose in the general election to Democrat Joe Donnelly.

In addition to Lugar, Obama awarded the Medal of Freedom—founded by president John F. Kennedy—to Bill Clinton, the 42nd president of the United States; Sally Ride, the first woman to visit outer space; TV personality Oprah “You Get a Car!” Winfrey; country singer Loretta Lynn; feminist activist and author Gloria Steinem; and more.

Illustration by Shannon Snow

McFadin writes for NBCSports.com on its NASCAR‬ Talk and MotorSports Talk websites. He is a former Sporting News and Indianapolis Monthly digital media intern. Previously, he earned a master's degree in sports journalism at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and garnered a bachelor's in journalism at Arkansas State University in May 2013 after spending his final three years there covering Arkansas State athletics. McFadin enjoys watching movies and reading too many books at once.