“Ellen counters what too often divides us with the countless things that bind us together,” said Obama just before he awarded Ellen DeGeneres with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Ellen DeGeneres has just been awarded the Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian award, which is pretty much like being Knighted in the Britain. Along with 20 other artists, athletes, philanthropists and scientists, DeGeneres was handed her award after a tear jerking speech from President Barak Obama.
The President had to break out a joke half way through his speech because he started“getting kind of choked up”, with all the emotion.
Obama praised the TV host for her bravery in coming out nearly twenty years ago, at a time when not even Hollywood was as accepting of homosexuality. He also praised DeGeneres for her ability to “laugh about something, rather than at someone.”
“It’s easy to forget now, when we’ve come so far, where now marriage is equal under the law, just how much courage was required for Ellen to come out on the most public of stages almost 20 years ago. Just how important it was not just for the LGBT community, but for all us to see somebody so full of kindness and light. Somebody we liked so much, somebody who could be our neighbor or our colleague or our sister challenge our own assumptions. Remind us that we have more in common than we realize, push our country in the direction of justice. What an incredible burden it was to bear, to risk your career like that. People don’t do that very often,” said Obama during his speech.
The tear-jerking speech was followed by a public statement outlining Ellen’s lifetime achievements, tears and an exchange of hugs between the President and celebrity.