To receive the nation’s highest civilian honor, people have fought in wars, cured diseases, invented everyday essentials and walked on the moon. But Ellen DeGeneres did something else.
She made Americans laugh. She came out two decades ago on television in the most public of ways. And… she forgot to bring her ID to the White House.
The U.S. Secret Service did not find this amusing, and sent her away. DeGeneres tweeted:
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) November 22, 2016
Since this is something many Americans have done at one time or another, she was not sent far, just to Lafayette Park across from The White House.
And the comic host of her own daytime talk show did eventually get in, about an hour later, just in time to take part in a “mannequin challenge” with her fellow honorees Robert DeNiro, Tom Hanks, Bruce Springsteen, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Bill and Melinda Gates and so many amazing Americans.
And when the big moment came, President Obama brought a tear to the eye of the woman who has helped us all laugh at even the darkest times, when he mentioned her coming out in “The Puppy Episode” of her 90’s TV sitcom. “What an incredible burden that was to bear, to risk her career like that. People don’t do that very often, and then to have the hopes of millions on your shoulders,” Obama said. Watch the video below from C-SPAN.
Watch the entire ceremony with all 21 honorees below: