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

Indiana’s heralded former senator joined Oprah Winfrey, Loretta Lynn, Gloria Steinem, Bill Clinton, and more as 2013 honorees.

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