Meet The 21 People President Obama Is Awarding The Presidential Medal of Freedom

The nation's greatest honor, nbd

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Additional reporting by Carine Lavache

Before President Obama leaves the White House, he's awarding exceptional Americans with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The award is considered to be the nation’s highest civilian honor, so needless to say it's a very big deal.

Among the group of recognizable household names of celebrities and sports icons are people who have made highly impactful contributions to our society like scientists, activists, philanthropists, artists, and public servants. Regardless of their level of fame, these candidates are all incredible role models. 

President Obama said that the award is "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." He believes that all of the candidates are striving to "push America forward, inspiring millions of people around the world along the way."
 
The ceremony for the presentation of the awards takes place at the White House on November 22. (Talk about a nice way to ring in Thanksgiving... These people are truly living the American dream.) If you want to know more about the candidates, we've got you covered. Get all the background information on these honorees in the gallery, below.