Elton John has led a commercially successful solo career since the 1970s, releasing 31 albums since 1969. The 75-year-old legend continues to shine in whatever he does. President Joe Biden surprised Sir Elton John with a National Humanities Medal, which brought him to tears.
John was recently at the White House to perform at A+E and History’s “A Night When Hope and History Rhyme.” He appeared genuinely astonished and humbled as the president spoke to the large crowd. “Tonight is my great honor, and I mean this sincerely, to present the National Humanities Medal to Sir Elton John.” A White House officer also elaborated on John’s contributions.
The President of the United States awards this National Humanities Medal to Sir Elton John for moving our souls with his powerful voice, one of the defining songbooks of all time. An enduring icon and advocate with absolute courage, who found purpose to challenge convention, shatter stigma and advance a simple truth: that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.
Teachers, first responders, veterans, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, former First Lady Laura Bush and her daughter Jenna Bush Hager, Anna Kendrick, activist Malala Yousafzai, and tennis legend Billie Jean King were all present on the South Lawn of the White House on a bipartisan evening. The event began with Paul Buccieri, president and chairman of A+E Networks Group, extending a warm welcome to the visitors.
John performed some of his biggest hits for the crowd throughout the chilly evening, including “Tiny Dancer,” “Rocket Man,” “Your Song,” and “I’m Still Standing,” to seven standing ovations in total. In addition to stating that he wants to see the ailment eradicated by 2030, John spoke extensively throughout the evening about the activism and work he has done since founding the Elton John AIDS Foundation in 1991.
We can do it, and we will. The AIDS epidemic has always been bipartisan in America. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve rang [United States Senator] Lindsey Graham. And to his credit, he’s always come through.
President Bush accelerated the whole thing with his PEPFAR bill. We would have never gotten as far without President Bush — please tell him for me, give him a big hug. I just wish America could be more bipartisan on everything.
Terry Gross, José Andrés, Elie Wiesel, and others have previously received the National Humanities Medal, which is given to individuals whose work “deepens the nation’s understanding of the humanities, broadened our citizens’ engagement with the humanities, or helped preserve and expand Americans’ access to important resources in the humanities.” Check out the videos below.
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