The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian honour that can be received in the U.S., and the White House announced on Saturday that President Donald Trump will award several medals in a ceremony scheduled for Friday, Nov. 16.
According to the White House statement, the medals are awarded “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 endeavours.”
Trump will be awarding seven medals at the ceremony, including posthumous honours to Elvis Presley, New York Yankees great Babe Ruth and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
In addition, medals will be presented to Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, retired jurist and former NFL star Alan Page, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach and Miriam Adelson, whose husband, Sheldon Adelson, is one of the Republican party’s biggest donors, reportedly donating in excess of $50 million ahead of the midterm elections.
The late King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, who died in 1977, is only the third entertainer to be honoured with a Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously.
“Elvis Presley defined American culture to billions of adoring fans around the world. Elvis fused gospel, country, and rhythm and blues to create a sound all his own, selling more than a billion records,” reads the White House statement.
“Elvis also served nearly 2 years in the United States Army, humbly accepting the call to serve despite his fame. He later starred in 31 films, drew record-breaking audiences to his shows, sent television ratings soaring, and earned 14 Grammy Award nominations. He ultimately won 3 Grammy Awards for his gospel music. Elvis Presley remains an enduring American icon four decades after his death.”