Bob Dylan is expected to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award at the White House this afternoon. The ceremony starts at 3:25 ET. It will be broadcast live on C-SPAN, and also streamed on C-SPAN.org. The award will be presented by President Barack Obama.
This award, along with the comparable Congressional Gold Medal bestowed by an act of U.S. Congress, is the highest civilian award in the United States. It was established in 1963 by President John F. Kennedy, replacing the earlier Medal of Freedom established by President Harry S. Truman in 1945.
Other recipients today include Madeleine Albright (Secretary of State), John Doar (Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice), William Foege (Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), astronaut and former Sen. John Glenn, Gordon Hirabayashi (openly defied the forced relocation and internment of Japanese Americans during World War II), Dolores Huerta (co-founder of the National Farmworkers Association), Jan Karski (Polish resistance figure), Juliette Gordon Low (Girl Scouts founder), Toni Morrison (novelist), Shimon Peres (Israeli president), John Paul Stevens (Supreme Court Justice), and Pat Summitt (University of Tennessee coach).
Reuters reports that “Peres will not attend the ceremony and will receive his medal at a separate event, ” according to the White House. The medals for Hirabayashi, Low and Karski, will be presented posthumously.
Here is the Presidential Medal of Freedom entry for Bob Dylan:
One of the most influential American musicians of the 20th century, Dylan released his first album in 1962. Known for his rich and poetic lyrics, his work had considerable influence on the civil rights movement of the 1960s and has had significant impact on American culture over the past five decades. He has won 11 Grammys, including a lifetime achievement award. He was named a Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Art et des Lettres and has received a Pulitzer Prize Special Citation. Dylan was awarded the 2009 National Medal of Arts. He has written more than 600 songs, and his songs have been recorded more than 3,000 times by other artists. He continues recording and touring around the world today.
Dylan turned 71 years old on Thursday. He last played the White House in February, 2010, for In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement. You can view that performance in the embedded clip at the left.
Looking forward, Bill Pagel’s Bob Links page has posted information of a possible Bob Dylan/Mark Knopfler U.S. tour this autumn. The page lists unconfirmed shows in the upper midwest and east coast, including Nebraska, Minneapolis, Madison, Milwaukee and Chicago.
Dylan’s last gig was in Mexico City on May 12. He is scheduled to hit the road again on June 30 at England’s Hop Farm Festival.
Thanks to the Desolation Row Information Service for the head’s up.
Keep up with Bob Dylan Examiner news. Just click on Subscribe above, or follow @DylanExaminer on Twitter. Thanks for your support.