Bob Dylan to receive Medal of Freedom on May 29th

[Update: My brief take on how the ceremony went is here.]

Reuters reports that this year’s Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony will take place at the White House next Tuesday, May 29th. Bob Dylan will therefore be receiving the award five days following his 71st birthday. (I note that they waited till his spring concert tour wrapped up to have the ceremony.)

Also receiving the award that day will be Toni Morrison, Madeleine Albright, John Glenn, John Paul Stevens, Jan Karski (posthumously), John Doar, William Foege, Gordon Hirabayashi (posthumously), Dolores Huerta, Juliette Gordon Low (posthumously) and Pat Summitt. Israeli President Shimon Peres is also receiving the award this year but reportedly in a separate event. (The list of honorees complete with short bios is at the White House website.) Clearly the ceremony will be televised in some form—no doubt on C-Span if nowhere else—but I don’t know the timing of any such broadcast at this point. [Update: Live coverage at 3:25 p.m. on C-Span.]

I don’t believe it’s customary for the honorees to “perform” at these shows, so it will basically just be an opportunity to watch Dylan squirm as President Obama delivers a capsule review of his career, and then see him get a medal hung around his neck. Not much drama, but a bit of real history all the same.


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