Legendary musician Bob Dylan and former astronaut John Glenn were among those honored by President Barack Obama with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in a ceremony at the White House.
Obama told the audience in the East Room that he is a “really big fan” of Dylan.
“Today, everybody from Bruce Springsteen to U2 owes Bob [Dylan] a debt of gratitude. There is not a bigger giant in the history of American music,” Obama said Tuesday. “All these years later, he’s still chasing that sound, still searching for a little bit of truth and I have to say that I am a really big fan.”
Obama said each of the honorees are his “heroes,” crediting Dylan with “opening up” his “world” in college.
“I had a chance to see everybody in the back. What’s wonderful about these events for me is so many of these people are my heroes individually, you know. I know how they impacted my life,” Obama said.
“I remember in college listening to Bob Dylan and my world opening up because he captured something that — about this country that was so vital and I think about Dolores Huerta, reading about her when I was starting off as an organizer.”
Huerta co-founded he National Farmworkers Association, which is now the United Farm Workers of America labor union.
Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright and former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens were also honored.