Emotional Biden awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom


Adam Wenkoff ’18

On Thursday, January 12, President Barack Obama surprised Vice President Joe Biden by awarding him America’s highest civilian honor: the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Obama cited Biden’s “faith in your fellow Americans, [your] love of country and [your] lifetime of service that will endure through the generations” as his reasons for presenting the award to him.

The Vice President was awarded the Medal of Freedom with distinction, joining Pope John Paul II, former President Ronald Reagan, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell as the only people to ever receive the award with distinction.

Biden, expecting to be toasting the senior staff with his wife and the First Lady, was completely taken aback by the honor. Visually emotional, Biden had to take a moment to regain his composure after the surprise announcement.

During the ceremony, Joe Biden was marked as “the best vice president the America’s ever had” by President Obama. Many students at Staples agree.

“He helped us get out of one of the worst economic recessions in our history, he’s advocated for women, survivors of sexual assault, gay marriage, etc.,” Monique Ostbye ’18 said. “With all of his work in public service I think that this was the perfect way to thank him for all of his service.”

As vice president, Biden has overseen a $787 billion economic stimulus package, revived an arms-reduction treaty with Russia and played an advisory role with conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. These accomplishments have earned him nonpartisan respect from around the world.

“He was awarded the medal of freedom due to his remarkable ability to lead and oversee and because he was able to gain respect and admiration from both parties, the country, and the world overall,” Alessandra Nagar ’18 said.

Biden’s storied political career will come to an end on January 20, but his philanthropic work will not end there. After he leaves the White House, Biden plans on dedicating his life to cancer research.

“[Biden] is an amazing man who’s devoted his life to this country, continuing to serve his terms through the death of his wife and later his son,” Olivia Payne ’18 said. “He’s done so much to better this nation and deserves the highest praise.”