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Highest Presidential honor to be awarded posthumously to Sally Ride

Monday, May 20, 2013

WASHINGTON — The White House announced Monday that President Barack Obama will bestow a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, to astronaut Dr. Sally Ride.

Sally Ride

Ride, who in 1983 became the first American woman in space, died of cancer at age 61 on July 23, 2012. Her sexual orientation was not widely known until her death, at which time her obituary revealed she survived by her female partner of 27 years.

“We remember Sally Ride not just as a national hero, but as a role model to generations of young women,” said Obama in a statement. “Sally inspired us to reach for the stars, and she advocated for a greater focus on the science, technology, engineering and math that would help us get there.”

“Sally showed us that there are no limits to what we can achieve, and I look forward to welcoming her family to the White House as we celebrate her life and legacy,” said Obama.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom recognizes individuals who have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

The award is not limited to U.S. citizens and, while it is a civilian award, it can also be awarded to military personnel and worn on the uniform.

The medal will be presented to Ride’s surviving partner, Tam O’Shaughnessy, and family members in an awards ceremony to be scheduled later this year at the White House.

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8 more reader comments:

  1. reminds me of the song, ride sally ride.

    Posted on Monday, May 20, 2013 at 7:59pm
  2. I’ll be happy when her partner gets paid survivors benefits that she is entitled to.

    Posted on Monday, May 20, 2013 at 8:03pm
  3. Because this is an LGBT organization. So yes, you’re right, mr. obvious.

    Posted on Monday, May 20, 2013 at 8:08pm
  4. That’s nice, but will her partner get the survival benefits currently being denied ? Seems a rather empty gesture.

    Posted on Monday, May 20, 2013 at 8:38pm
  5. About damn time! Now, let her widowed wife gain benefits the she deserves!

    Posted on Monday, May 20, 2013 at 8:44pm
  6. Thank you!

    Posted on Monday, May 20, 2013 at 8:56pm
  7. That’s nice but what about recognizing her partner and giving her military death benefit payment?

    Posted on Monday, May 20, 2013 at 8:56pm
  8. Thank you President Obama: Can we extend the same federal partner benefits as the deceased employees in 9-11? Sally did not come out probably because we’d lived through BJK. BTW Thank you for recognizing Billie Jean King, also! I love you and pray for your family every night.

    Posted on Monday, May 20, 2013 at 8:56pm