This day (Nov. 20) in 2013, country music icon Loretta Lynn was among those presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the nation’s capital, Washington D.C. Other big names that were awarded were Oprah Winfrey and Bill Clinton, together with 13 other honorees.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the nation’s highest civilian honor awarded to individuals who have exemplified meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.
During that time, President Barrack Obama presented this prestigious award to 16 recipients that include Chicago Cubs legend Ernie Banks and women’s rights activist Gloria Steinem. Also, making it to the list were former Washington Post executive editor Ben Bradlee and the late astronaut Sally Ride.
As for musical artists, only Lynn and Cuban-born jazz trumpeter, pianist and composer Arturo Sandoval got to receive the award in that year.
Pres. Obama Presents the Medal to Lynn
Going back, Lynn was earlier inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1988. Since that day, her career has flourished and her music has reached more audience. While presenting the award, Obama pointed out the country singer’s humble beginnings. He said:
“Loretta Lynn was 19 the first time she won at the local fair. Her canned vegetables brought home 17 blue ribbons and made her canner of the year. Now, that’s impressive. For a girl from Butcher Holler, Kentucky, that was fame.”
Obama then posed and later continued on giving words of praise to the singer.
“Fortunately for all of us, she decided to try her hand at things other than canning. Her first guitar cost $17 and with it, this coal miner’s daughter gave voice to a generation, singing what no one wanted to talk about saying what no one wanted to think about. Now, over 50 years after she cut her first record and canned her first vegetables, Loretta Lynn still reigns as the rule-breaking, record-setting queen of country music.”
After the inspiring message, the audience stood on their feet beaming with applause and appreciation.
Check out President Barrack Obama presenting the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Loretta Lynn:
Watch Lynn tell a story about her life and the award:
Barrack Obama, Loretta Lynn, Presidential Medal of Freedom