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This Day in Georgia History

June 20, 2002

Presidential Medal of Freedom Winners

The White House announced that two people with Georgia ties were among the 12 winners of the 2002 Presidential Medal of Freedom. Atlanta Braves baseball great Hank Aaron was honored–not just for his baseball accomplishments but because he was able to achieve to do so despite “frequent encounters with racism throughout his career.” Also honored was Dr. D.A. Henderson, a scientist at Atlanta’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who led the worldwide efforts of the World Health Organization to eliminate smallpox. The Presidential Medal of Freedom, which recognizes distinguished service, is the highest honor an American civilian can receive from the United States.