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Kennedy Award honors Obama’s commitment to public service

Wikipedia Commons

Wikipedia Commons

Emily Ficker, Section Editor

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Every year, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum awards one public servant with the Profile in Courage Award. The accolade is a private award given to recognize displays of courage similar to those John F. Kennedy outlined in his book, Profiles in Courage. This honor is dedicated to individuals, often elected officials, who, by acting in accord with their conscience, risked their careers or lives by pursuing a larger vision of the national, state, or local interest in opposition to popular opinion or pressure from constituents or other local interests. The winners of the award are selected by a bipartisan committee named by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, which includes members of the Kennedy family and other prominent Americans. Every year, it is generally awarded around the time of Kennedy’s birthday, May 29, at a ceremony at the Kennedy Library in Boston.
On May 7, former President Barack Obama returned to the political spotlight once again to accept this this year’s Profile in Courage Award. To join the former President was his wife, Michelle, members of the Kennedy family, former Obama staffers, members of Congress, and celebrities, including late-night talk show host David Letterman. It was revealed that Barack Obama was selected by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum for expanding health security to millions of Americans through his signature health care bill. Coincidentally, that very same health care bill was voted to be dismantled just days before by House Republicans. In his public statement after receiving the award, Obama said, “I hope that current members of Congress recall that it actually doesn’t take a lot of courage to aid those who are already powerful, already comfortable, already influential. But it does require some courage to champion the vulnerable and the sick and the infirm.” In response to the former President’s recent reappearance in the political scene, junior Isabella Wishart commented, “I hope he continues to be vocal throughout these next few years. He was once the symbol of leadership in our nation, and I’d like to see the legacy continue.”
Daughter of JFK, Caroline Kennedy, remarked that JFK called on a new generation of Americans to give their talents to the service of the country, and she applauded Obama for carrying her father’s torch to present day, setting an example for young people to emulate their lives. The award was presented by Caroline Kennedy and her son, Jack Schlossberg.
While the former President has been away from the political limelight since President Trump’s inauguration, he has been focusing his efforts on the new Obama Foundation and Presidential Center in Chicago. When complete, the Presidential Center will include a library holding the Presidential archives, a museum focusing on the Obama Presidency and issues of our time, and space for ongoing programs and initiatives that advance the Obama’s mission. It is his hard work on missions like the Obama Foundation and Presidential Center that earned him the prestigious Profile in Courage award.

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Kennedy Award honors Obama’s commitment to public service