Novelist Toni Morrison is presented with a Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama during an East Room event May 29, 2012 at the White House in Washington, DC. The Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, is presented to individuals who have made especially 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. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) None:
Wed, May 30, 2012 10:31 AM EDT

On Tuesday, President Barack Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom--the Nation's highest civilian honor--to 13 individuals who have made 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. This year's recipients include cultural icons like Bob Dylan and Toni Morrison, as well as Dolores Huerta, who cofounded the United Farm Workers with Cesar Chavez. At the ceremony held Tuesday, the President said: > Together, the honorees on this stage, and the ones who couldn't be here, have moved us with their words; they have inspired us with their actions. They've enriched our lives and they've changed our lives for the better. Some of them are household names; others have labored quietly out of the public eye. Most of them may never fully appreciate the difference they've made or the influence that they've had, but that's where our job comes in. It's our job to help let them know how extraordinary their impact has been on our lives. And so today we present this amazing group with one more accolade for a life well led, and that's the Presidential Medal of Freedom. >