UNITED STATES—Country legend Loretta Lynn will be a recipient of the 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the iconic musician is set to be commemorated later in the year.
President Obama announced the list of recipients on Thursday, August 8. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian honor bestowed in the
United States, and it is conferred onto individuals who have contributed meaningfully to either the nation's intellectual interest and cultural milieu or world peace. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which began under the administration of former President John F. Kennedy.
“The Presidential Medal of Freedom goes to men and women who have dedicated their own lives to enriching ours,” said President Obama. “This year's honorees have been blessed with extraordinary talent, but what sets them apart is their gift for sharing that talent with the world. It will be my honor to present them with a token of our nation's gratitude."
“The First Lady of Country Music” will be honored for forging a successful career in a genre often considered conservative and male dominated. As a female country artist,
Lynn grew in fame during the 1960s, and her prosperous vocation earned her much praise and controversy. Her songs dealt in stark terms with issues like gender politics, Vietnam and the less pristine side of romance that most others dared not approach in country music. Her repertoire of songs includes “Coal Miner's Daughter,” “The Pill,” “
City,” and “Rated X.” Her most recent album, “Van Lear Rose,” was released in 2004 to universal acclaim.
Lynn is one of 16 listed as recipients. Also receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom are former President Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, chemist and UC San Diego professor Mario Molina, and renowned writer and activist for women's equality Gloria Steinem.