Loretta Lynn was among 16 people awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama during a White House ceremony on November 20, reports The Tennessean. Obama told the crowd that Loretta’s first success came at age 19 when she won 17 blue ribbons at a local fair for her canned vegetables.
“Fortunately for all of us, she decided to try her hand at things other than canning,” Obama said. “Her first guitar cost $17 and with it this coal miner’s daughter gave voice to a generation singing what no one wanted to talk about and saying what no one wanted to think about. And now over 50 years after she cut her first record, Loretta Lynn still reigns as the rule-breaking , record-setting queen of country music.”
The Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Nation’s highest civilian honor, is presented to those who have made “especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interest of the United States, to world peace or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
Several country stars took to Twitter to congratulate Loretta on the honor:
- Charlie Daniels – “Congratulations Loretta Lynn for winning the Medal of Freedom You know we all love you.”
- Trace Lawrence – “A huge congrats to @The_LorettaLynn, who was awarded the #PresidentialMedalofFreedom today. A true country music legend & American icon.
- The Oak Ridge Boys – Congratulations @The_LorettaLynn on receiving The Medal of Freedom today @WhiteHouse … Our queen forever!!!!
In addition to Loretta, this year’s recipients include Ernie Banks, Ben Bradlee, President Bill Clinton, Daniel Inouye (posthumous), Daniel Kahneman, Richard Lugar, Mario Molina, Sally Ride (posthumous), Bayard Rustin (posthumous), Arturo Sandoval, Dean Smith, Gloria Steinem, Cordy Tindell “C.T.” Vivian, Patricia Wald and Oprah Winfrey.