Arturo Sandoval receives Presidential Medal of Freedom

President Barack Obama awarded Cuban-born trumpeter Arturo Sandoval the Presidential Medal of Freedom in a ceremony on November 20, 2013. The White House presents the award to individuals who have "made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors." Sixteen Americans received the award this year, including former President Bill Clinton, media icon Oprah Winfrey, the late astronaut Sally Ride.

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Speaking about Sandoval, Obama said, “Born into poverty in Cuba and held back by his government, he risked everything to share his gifts with the world. In the decades since, this astonishing trumpeter, pianist and composer has inspired audiences in every corner of the world and awakened a new generation of great performers. He remains one of the best ever to play.” Obama also spoke about how Sandoval broke the law in Communist Cuba listening to jazz in secret, before defecting to the US in 1990. A military aide read a list of Sandoval's accomplishments before President Obama fastened the ribbon with the medal around Sandoval's neck.

Sources: Miami Herald article,

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