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President Biden Honors 17 People with Presidential Medal of Freedom

The recipients ranged from a gymnast to an activist nun

On Thursday, President Joe Biden awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, to 17 people in a wide variety of endeavors, including gymnast Simone Biles, Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington and, posthumously, inventor Steve Jobs and former senator John McCain.

Biden's list of recipients, his first as president, reflected his personal and political identity, ranging from a labor leader, the late AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, to a gun control activist, former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. He named several Republicans known for working across the aisle, those who came from average backgrounds to do extraordinary things — and, in true Biden form, a Catholic nun.

"This," Biden said at the conclusion of the event, "is America."

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