2016 Presidential Medal of Freedom

Presidential Medal of Freedom

The Medal of Freedom is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, 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.

Awarded for “a meritorious act or service which has aided the United States in the prosecution of a war against an enemy or enemies and for which an award of another United States medal or decoration is considered inappropriate”

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Executive Order signed by President John F. Kennedy establishing the Presidential Medal of Freedom, as well as the first ceremony bestowing the honor on an inaugural class of 31 recipients. Since that time, more than 500 exceptional individuals from all corners of society have been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

President Obama said, “The Presidential Medal of Freedom goes to men and women who have dedicated their own lives to enriching ours. This year’s honorees have been blessed with extraordinary talent, but what sets them apart is their gift for sharing that talent with the world. It will be my honor to present them with a token of our nation’s gratitude.”

November 16, 2016

President Obama Names Recipients of the 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Barack Obama named 21 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, 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. The awards will be presented at the White House on November 22th.

President Obama said, “The Presidential Medal of Freedom is not just our nation’s highest civilian honor – it’s a tribute to the idea that all of us, no matter where we come from, have the opportunity to change this country for the better. From scientists, philanthropists, and public servants to activists, athletes, and artists, these 21 individuals have helped push America forward, inspiring millions of people around the world along the way.”

The following individuals will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom:

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Elouise Cobell (posthumous)
Ellen DeGeneres
Robert De Niro
Richard Garwin
Bill and Melinda Gates
Frank Gehry
Margaret H. Hamilton
Tom Hanks
Grace Hopper (posthumous)
Michael Jordan
Maya Lin
Lorne Michaels
Newt Minow
Eduardo Padrón
Robert Redford
Diana Ross
Vin Scully
Bruce Springsteen
Cicely Tyson

For the entire article: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/11/16/president-obama-names-recipients-presidential-medal-freedom

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November 22, 2016
President Obama presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to recipients
White House

#MedalofFreedom

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Memorial Day 2016

Memorial Day History

Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.

The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.

The ceremonies centered around the mourning-draped veranda of the Arlington mansion, once the home of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Various Washington officials, including Gen. and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, presided over the ceremonies. After speeches, children from the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphan Home and members of the GAR made their way through the cemetery, strewing flowers on both Union and Confederate graves, reciting prayers and singing hymns.

Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May.

For more: http://www.va.gov/opa/speceven/memday/history.asp

Memorial_Day

National Memorial Day Observances
Monday, May 30th – 3:00 pm Local Time

Arlington Memorial Day 5.30.15
5/30/16 Memorial Day, Arlington

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1st Lt. John L. Dougherty’s gravesite The Netherlands Bert Caris and his group from the Netherlands tends to the graves of American Soliders at the Margraten Memorial Center. Please visit their website “Fallen Not Forgotten
1st Lt. John L. Dougherty’s gravesite, The Netherlands
Bert Caris and his group tend to the graves of American Soliders at the Margraten Memorial Center, The Netherlands. Visit their website “Fallen Not Forgotten “.

List of American military cemeteries, federal memorials, monuments and markers located in foreign countries

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Guiding our Youth

life-choices-quote

What Are You Doing With Your Life?
When a teenager tries to break into her home, Joey Garcia asks him an unexpected question.

Dec 29, 2015 By Joey Garcia – KQED Perspectives

I was at my laptop working on a poem when I realized that late afternoon had darkened into evening. I should probably close the windows in the front of the house, I thought.

The early evening light was dim but when I walked into the kitchen, I could clearly see the young man straddling the windowsill, breaking into my home.

He was a teenager, 17 or 18 years old. I felt strangely calm, probably because of my two decades as a high school teacher and life coach for teens. So it didn’t surprise me when a sincere question came into my mind:

“What are you doing with your life?”

He froze. I asked again, louder this time, my hands flapping emphatically: “What are you doing with your life?”

Watching me carefully for a moment, he seemed to ponder the question. Then he began to back out of the window.

I told him I would count to three and yell for help.

The young man ran. With shaky hands, I closed and locked my windows, careful not to touch the one he had entered, or the screen he had removed to break in. Evidence, I thought.

When the police officer arrived, he asked me what happened. When I explained, he asked if I knew the young man. “No” I said. The officer narrowed his eyes. “Then why did you ask, ‘What are you doing with your life?'”

I don’t remember what I told him. But the truth is, I feel responsible for all kids. Every child is my child. I believe that every adult is responsible for guiding teens to maturity. We must all help every teenager we meet to navigate a path into a rewarding life.

Looking back, I think I understand why the young man ran away. To be asked, “What are you doing with your life?” is to be acknowledged as if you matter, are loved and are valued.

In the end, I committed the bolder theft. He tried to break into my house, but I tried to break into his consciousness.

For the entire article and audio interview: http://www.kqed.org/a/perspectives/R201512290643

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Resources

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#MyBrothersKeeper

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2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom

PresMedalFreedom

Presidential Medal of Freedom

The Medal of Freedom is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, 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.

Awarded for “a meritorious act or service which has aided the United States in the prosecution of a war against an enemy or enemies and for which an award of another United States medal or decoration is considered inappropriate”

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Executive Order signed by President John F. Kennedy establishing the Presidential Medal of Freedom, as well as the first ceremony bestowing the honor on an inaugural class of 31 recipients. Since that time, more than 500 exceptional individuals from all corners of society have been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

President Obama said, “The Presidential Medal of Freedom goes to men and women who have dedicated their own lives to enriching ours. This year’s honorees have been blessed with extraordinary talent, but what sets them apart is their gift for sharing that talent with the world. It will be my honor to present them with a token of our nation’s gratitude.”

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On November 24, 2015 the following individuals will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom:

Yogi Berra (posthumous)
Bonnie Carroll
Shirley Chisholm (posthumous)
Emilio Estefan
Gloria Estefan
Billy Frank, Jr (posthumous)
Lee Hamilton
Katherine G. Johnson
Willie Mays
Barbara Mikulski
Itzhak Perlman
William D. Ruckelshaus
Stephen Sondheim
Steven Spielberg
Barbra Streisand
James Taylor
Minoru Yasui

For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/11/16/president-obama-names-recipients-presidential-medal-freedom

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#MedalofFreedom

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National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend 2015

Natl Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend 2015

National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

Congress created the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation to lead a nationwide effort to honor America’s fallen firefighters. Since 1992, the non-profit Foundation has developed and expanded programs that fulfill that mandate. Our mission is to honor and remember America’s fallen fire heroes and to provide resources to assist their survivors in rebuilding their lives and work within the fire service community to reduce firefighter deaths and injuries.

Each October, the Foundation sponsors the official national tribute to all firefighters who died in the line of duty during the previous year. Thousands attend the weekend activities held at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland. The Weekend features special programs for survivors and coworkers along with moving public ceremonies.

For more: http://www.firehero.org/about-us/

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BELLS ACROSS AMERICA FOR FALLEN FIREFIGHTERS

The sound of a bell holds special significance for firefighters. Historically, the toll of a bell summoned members to the station, signaled the beginning of a shift, notified departments of a call for help, and indicated a call was completed and the unit had returned to the station.

Departments sounded a series of bells when a firefighter died in the line of duty to alert all members that a comrade had made the ultimate sacrifice. This time-honored tradition continues today during the funerals or memorial services for firefighters.

For the fifth year, bells will ring from coast to coast as a grateful nation pauses on Sunday, October 4, 2015 to honor those firefighters who died in the line of duty in 2014 and previous years. Fire departments and their places of worship will join the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) for the Fourth Annual Bells Across America for Fallen Firefighters, part of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation is asking communties, fire service organizations, and religious organizations to help us honor our fallen firefighters by participating in Bells Across America for Fallen Firefighters. A moment of remembrance can occur at any time during Memorial Weekend, October 3 & 4. Fire department representatives are encouraged to work with their clergy and community leaders to develop an appropriate tribute.

For more: http://www.firehero.org/events/memorial-weekend/about/bells-across-america/

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Candlelight Service Broadcast

Saturday, October 3, 2015 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. EDT
(Streaming Begins at 6:00 p.m.; Service Begins at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time)

Memorial Service Broadcast

Sunday, October 4, 2015 9:30 am – 12:00 p.m. EDT
(Streaming Begins at 9:30 a.m.; Service Begins at 10 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time)

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Support NFFF

#FireHero15

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Thank you to our firefighters and volunteer firefighters!
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Heroes: S. Stone, A. Sadler, A. Sharlatos, C. Norman, M. Moogalian & Damien A.

A humble wave from a hero: Wounded US airman who took down AK47-wielding terrorist on French train, then treated others before tending to his own stab wounds emerges from hospital with a smile 

US Air Force Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone emerged from the central hospital in Lille, France, wearing bandages and a sling a day after tackling a terrorist down
US Air Force Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone emerged from the central hospital in Lille, France, wearing bandages and a sling a day after tackling a terrorist down
  • Air Force airman Spencer Stone ran at 26-year-old Moroccan when he opened fire on high speed service to Paris
  • He was stabbed in the neck, above his brow, and almost severed his thumb – but still gave First Aid to others
  • Was on the train with friend Oregon National Guard member Alek Skarlatos, 22, who was travelling through Europe
  • With the help of Anthony Sadler, from California, and British national Chris Norman, they stopped the attack
  • Three people, including Stone, wounded in the attack and French police have hailed the bravery of the bystanders
  • French media report the man denies being a terrorist and instead claims he wanted to carry out an armed robbery 
  • Also claims he wanted to ransom off passengers and he found the weapons in a bag ‘by chance in a Brussels Park’

The US airman who was stabbed in the neck and hand while tackling a Kalashnikov-wielding terrorist to the ground in a packed Paris-bound train has emerged from hospital with a humble wave.

He became a hero while traveling on a high speed train from Amsterdam to France with his two friends – Oregon National Guard member Alek Skarlatos, 22, who was on leave after a tour of Afghanistan, and Anthony Sadler of California – when they ambushed a terrorist and averted a tragedy.

Having already been suspicious of Ayoub el-Qahzzani’s behavior, Stone leaped into action when he heard him load up a Kalashnikov in the toilet. When he came out to open fire, Stone, Skarlatos and Sadler charged and tackled him to the ground.

Stone was stabbed in the hand during the scuffle with a Klashnikov and Stanley knife on Friday – almost severing his thumb – but was hailed a hero as he disarmed the suspect then administered first aid to others before caring for himself.

On Saturday, he emerged from the central hospital in Lille, France, wearing bandages and a sling – and offered the cameras a humble wave before slipping into a black sedan with diplomatic license plates.

It was not immediately clear where he was headed.

Stone, who is in the Air Force, was also commended for helping an injured train passenger, a French-American, bleeding from a gunshot wound. That passenger, a teacher who resides outside Paris, was being treated in another hospital in Lille.

French President Francois Hollande said in a statement that he spoke with President Barack Obama to personally thank him for the ‘exemplary conduct of American citizens who stopped an extremely serious attack.’

Earlier on Saturday, Stone’s friend Sadler described the sequence of events.

‘We heard a gunshot, and we heard glass breaking behind us, and saw a train employee sprint past us down the aisle,’ Sadler said from France. They then saw a gunman entering the train car with an automatic rifle.

‘As he was cocking it to shoot it, Alek just yells, ‘Spencer, go!’ And Spencer runs down the aisle,’ Sadler continued. ‘Spencer makes first contact, he tackles the guy, Alek wrestles gun away from him, and the gunman pulls out a box cutter and slices Spencer a few times. And the three of us beat him until he was unconscious.’

As they beat the man – named in reports as Ayoub el-Qahzzani – he pleaded with them to return his AK-47, Sadler explained.

‘He was just telling us to give back his gun. ‘Give me back my gun! Give me back my gun!’ But we just carried on beating him up and immobilised him and that was it.’

The men, along with fellow passenger British IT consultant Chris Norman, have since been commended for their bravery by President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande has tweeted that he will meet the men tomorrow to thank them.

(From left to right) Anthony Sadler, from Pittsburg, California, Oregon Army National Guard Spec Alek Sharlatos from Roseburg, Oregon, and Chris Norman, a British man living in France thwarted the attacker while on the train. They are pictured with medals they received for bravery
(From left to right) Anthony Sadler, from Pittsburg, California, Oregon Army National Guard Spec Alek Sharlatos from Roseburg, Oregon, and Chris Norman, a British man living in France thwarted the attacker while on the train. They are pictured with medals they received for bravery

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3207243/True-American-hero-airman-tackled-beat-disarmed-Kalashnikov-wielding-terrorist-French-train-treated-tending-stab-wounds-emerges-hospital-humble-wave.html

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Mark Moogalian, first heroic passenger to wrestle a weapon from the high-speed train gunman
Mark Moogalian, first heroic passenger to wrestle a weapon from the high-speed train gunman

Revealed: The mystery man who tackled AK-47 assault rifle from train gunman

Traveller who intervened to disarm gunman youb El-Khazzani is an American academic named Mark Moogalian

Mr Moogalian, who lives in Paris but is originally from Midlothian, Virginia, US, is the previously unnamed man who came to the aid of “Damien A”, 28, a French banker who confronted El-Khazzani.

The academic acted instinctively to protect his wife Isabella Risacher, who was also aboard the Thalys train.

He tackled the Kalashnikov assault rifle off El-Khazzani, who then drew a sidearm and shot him in the neck before taking back the rifle, his sister has revealed.

Three other US citizens including two military personnel, and Chris Norman, a British businessman then stepped in to disarm and overpower the assailant.

For more: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/11819423/Revealed-The-mystery-man-who-tackled-AK-47-assault-rifle-from-train-gunman.html

Defense Officials Praise Troops’ Actions in Train Attack

WASHINGTON, August 22, 2015 — Defense.gov

In a statement released today, Defense Secretary Ash Carter praised three Americans for their actions yesterday on a train outside of Brussels, Belgium.

“On behalf of all the men and women of the Department of Defense, I want to thank the brave individuals, including two members of the U.S. military, who stepped forward to prevent an even greater tragedy from taking place aboard that train,” Carter said.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone, assigned to the 65th Air Base Group, Lajes Air Base, Azores, Oregon Army National Guard Spc. Alek Skarlatos and a civilian friend were traveling together via train on personal leave. The men took immediate action to subdue an armed gunman before he could engage his automatic weapon on the train.

“My thoughts and prayers today are with those injured in the attack, including Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone, whose selfless actions saved lives. I wish him a speedy recovery,” the defense secretary said.

“These men are heroes,” said U.S. European Command Commander Air Force Gen. Philip M. Breedlove.

“Actions like this clearly illustrate the courage and commitment our young men and women have all the time, whether they are on duty or on leave,” he said. “We are extremely proud of their efforts and now are praying for our injured airman to have a speedy recovery.”

Stone, who suffered non-life threatening injuries in the attack, is currently being treated in a French medical facility.

“(Stone and Skarlatos) are two reasons why — on duty and off — ours is finest fighting force the world has ever known,” Carter said.

“I’m still waiting to wake up,” he said. “It’s like a movie scene or something.”

“I was thinking about survival,” said Spencer Stone, who serves in the Air Force. “It was to survive and for everybody else on the train to make it.”

“He seemed like he was ready to fight until the end,” Stone added of Ayoub El Khazzani, 26, the alleged attacker. “So were we.”

“His intentions were very clear,” said Alek Skarlatos, a National Guardsman. “The guy had a lot of ammo. In the beginning it was gut instinct, survival.”

Khazzani allegedly opened fire on board a train heading from Amsterdam to Paris on Friday before being subdued by Sadler, Skarlatos and Stone.

Three passengers were injured in the incident, sustaining knife or gunshot wounds, none of them life-threatening.

Stone had his neck and thumb caught when he and his two close friends rushed Khazzani and prevented further bloodshed.

“Other than my finger, I didn’t really feel any of my other injuries,” he said on Sunday. “I trust my friends very much. If it wasn’t for them, I’d be dead.”

“He clearly had no firearms training whatsoever,” Skarlatos said of Khazzani. “I have no idea where he was aiming.”

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said on Saturday that the accused assailant wielded a Kalashnikov assault rifle, a Luger automatic pistol and a box cutter during the attack.

Sadler argued on Sunday that the international community must remain both vigilant and brave in the face of similar extremism.

“Please do something,” he said. “Don’t just stand there and watch.”

For more: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/251760-train-attack-hero-it-was-do-something-or-die

From the left, French President Francois Hollande, U.S. National Guardsman from Roseburg, Oregon, Alek Skarlatos, U.S. Ambassador to France Jane D. Hartley, U.S. Airman Spencer Stone and Anthony Sadler, a senior at Sacramento University in California, pose for photographers as they leave the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, after being awarded with the French Legion of Honor by French President Hollande, Monday, Aug. 24, 2015. French President Hollande and a bevy of officials are presenting the Americans with the prestigious Legion of Honor on Monday. The three American travelers say they relied on gut instinct and a close bond forged over years of friendship as they took down a heavily armed man on a passenger train speeding through Belgium. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
From L, French President Francois Hollande, U.S. National Guardsman from Roseburg, Oregon, Alek Skarlatos, U.S. Ambassador to France Jane D. Hartley, U.S. Airman and Anthony Sadler, a senior at Sacramento University in California was awarded with the French Legion of Honor by French President Hollande, Monday, Aug. 24, 2015. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2015

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a United States federal holiday marking the birthday of Rev. Dr.Martin Luther King, Jr.  King was the chief spokesman for nonviolent activism in the civil rights movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.

The national Martin Luther King Day of Service was started by former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Harris Wofford and Atlanta Congressman John Lewis, who co-authored the King Holiday and Service Act. The federal legislation challenges Americans to transform the King Holiday into a day of citizen action volunteer service in honor of Dr. King. The federal legislation was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on August 23, 1994. Since 1996, the annual Greater Philadelphia King Day of Service.  has been the largest event in the nation honoring Dr. King. In honor of MLK, volunteers across the country donate their time to make a difference on this day.

Explore the mlkday.gov site to learn more about MLK Day and how you can participate. Below area few links to get you started.

http://selmastudenttickets.com
http://selmastudenttickets.com

 

MLK Day: Final Freedom Train in Bay Area ends 30 years of celebrating King’s legacy

1/19/2015 11:36:32 AM PST mercurynews.

SAN JOSE — America’s final Freedom Train chugged out of San Jose’s Diridon Station and into the history books Monday, ending three decades of tributes on the nation’s rails that celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s enduring legacy.

After years of declining interest, the chartered Caltrain roared to San Francisco on its final journey with a rejuvenated spirit and about 1,500 passengers — five times more than last year.

Packed joyously in 10 train cars, the multicultural mix of pilgrims sang civil rights hymns, read MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech and shared personal stories. Michelle Geary’s mother, Arlee Geary, made sure their family was onboard.

“My mom called me and said, ‘I grew up on Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy and if this is going to be the last train I want all of us to ride it,” said Michelle Geary of San Jose whose son and husband were also part of the final ride.

King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, started the Freedom Train celebrations in dozens of cities across the country to commemorate the historic civil rights march her husband led from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

But with so many new competing events over the years marking MLK’s birthday, the train journeys faded away, leaving the Bay Area’s as the last to survive. This year, after the police killings of unarmed black men in Missouri and New York, the traditional day of service also became a day of civil rights protests.

“All those people protesting these days, they ought to be demanding the continuation of the Freedom Train because losing this is a really a shame,” said Charles Herndon, who was the conductor on the first 25 years of MLK trains before retiring. He rode the farewell train as a passenger Monday.

For more: http://www.mercurynews.com/california/ci_27350087/mlk-day-final-freedom-train-bay-area-ends

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#Selma

#MLK