Country legend Loretta Lynn will be among the recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom which 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."
This year marks the 50th year that the medals have been given out. Previous artists who have been honored include Duke Ellington (1969), Tennessee Ernie Ford (1984), Count Basie (1985), Frank Sinatra (1985), Ella Fitzgerald (1992), Aretha Franklin (2005), B.B. King (2006) and Bob Dylan (2012).
In naming Lynn, the White House said:
Loretta Lynn is a country music legend. Raised in rural Kentucky, she emerged as one of the first successful female country music vocalists in the early 1960s, courageously breaking barriers in an industry long dominated by men. Ms. Lynn’s numerous accolades include the Kennedy Center Honors in 2003 and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.Also receiving the award this year are former President Bill Clinton, TV Legend Oprah Winfrey, baseball's Ernie Banks, women's activist Gloria Steinem, jazz trumpeter, pianist and composer Arturo Sandoval, astronaut Sally Ride, journalist Ben Bradlee, congressmen Daniel Inouye and Richard Lugar, psychologist Daniel Kahneman, chemist Maria Molina, civil rights activists Bayard Rustin and Cordy Tindell Vivian, judge Patricia Wild and college basketball coach Dean Smith. Inouye, Ride and Rustin are being honored posthumously.