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2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients

An officer of the US Air Force holds the Presidential Medal of Freedom to be awarded to recipients by US President Barack Obama (not pictured), during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington DC, USA, 20 November 2013. The Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian honor presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the US, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors. EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients

Yahoo News

President Barack Obama honored 16 prominent Americans Wednesday with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest award the U.S. gives a civilian. The ceremony at the White House opened a day of tributes to former President John F. Kennedy, who established the modern version of the medal but was assassinated 50 years ago this week as the first award ceremony neared. (AP)

Here's a look at the recipients then and now.