Presidential Medal of Freedom honorees announced

June 11, 2008 6:45:37 PM PDT
A leading AIDS expert, a groundbreaking pediatric neurosurgeon and a lawmaker who was the only Holocaust survivor to serve in Congress are among this year's recipients of the nation's highest civilian award. President Bush on Wednesday announced the recipients of this year's Presidential Medal of Freedom; they will be honored at a White House ceremony June 19. They are: -Dr. Anthony S. Fauci. An adviser to the government on global AIDS issues, he is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

-Dr. Benjamin S. Carson Sr. In 1987, he performed the world's first successful operation separating twins joined at the back of the head. He is director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore.

-The late Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif. The Holocaust survivor, who died of cancer in February, is remembered as a champion of human rights.

-Retired Marine Gen. Peter Pace. One of the Iraq war's military architects, Pace retired last year as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The White House said "his selfless service and visionary leadership have helped keep our nation safe."

-Donna Shalala. Health and human services secretary under President Clinton and now president of the University of Miami, she helped lead a presidential commission charged with getting wounded military veterans better health care.

-Laurence H. Silberman. Appointed by President Reagan to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, he helped lead a presidential commission investigating flawed intelligence about Iraq's prewar weapons of mass destruction.

The Medal of Freedom was established by President Truman in 1945 to recognize civilians for their efforts during World War II. The award was reinstated by President Kennedy in 1963 to honor distinguished service. It is given to those deemed to have made remarkable contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, culture, or other private or public endeavors.

--- On the Net: White House: (Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) AP-NY-06-11-08 2040EDT