Thirteen people, living and dead, were awarded the nation's highest civilian honor (after Universal Royalty Ultimate Grand Supreme, 4-8-Year-Old Division) on Tuesday. One of those people was Bob Dylan and the other twelve weren't Bob Dylan.
The medal is intended to recognize individuals—not necessarily Americans—who have done great things and deserve a medal. (In official terms, those who have made "an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, or cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.")
The New York Daily News notes that Dylan wore "sunglasses, [a] bow tie and black suit embellished with shiny buckles and buttons" and adds that "other honoree" Gordon Hirabayashi "fought the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II."
For his part, President Obama allotted about equal time in his speech to each of the thirteen recipients, finding just as much to say about John Doar, the lawyer and civil rights activist who, in 1962, escorted African American student James Meredith into the then-segregated University of Mississippi, as he did about Bob Dylan.
And, because he's Barack Obama, he also managed to say something slightly embarrassing about his daughters in the middle of his remarks, explaining that it's because of leaders like women's basketball coach Pat Summitt (who led the University of Tennessee squad to more NCAA Final Four appearances than any other team) that his girls are "standing up straight and diving after loose balls."
Haha, dad, stop, you're embarrassing me.
For more about the contributions of the medal winners, who included author Toni Morrison, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low, check out the White House's official transcript of Obama's speech.
For much more about Bob Dylan's specific contributions, check out any media write-up of the ceremony.
[NY Daily News // Image via AP]