President George W. Bush enumerated the recipients of this year's Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Among those being honored at a White House ceremony on Nov. 5 are:
- Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. The president of Liberia and the first woman elected president of an African nation, she is credited with working to expand freedom and healing a country torn apart by conflict.
- Oscar Elias Biscet. A human rights advocate and champion of freedoms in Cuba, Biscet is a political prisoner in Cuba who is being recognized for his fight against tyranny and oppression.
- Harper Lee. The author is being honored for outstanding contributions to American literature, including her beloved book, "To Kill a Mockingbird."
- Gary Becker. The economist and 1992 Nobel Prize winner is being honored for broadening the understanding of economics and social science, and for helping to improve the standard of living around the world.
The Medal of Freedom was established in 1945 to recognize civilians for their efforts during World War II. The award was reinstated by President John F. Kennedy in 1963 to honor distinguished service. It is given to those deemed to have made remarkable contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, culture, or other private or public endeavors.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his speech dedicated to the Day of the Russian Navy, recalled the threats that Russia is currently facing from a number of countries.