James Taylor Receiving Presidential Medal of Freedom


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Singer/songwriter James Taylor is receiving the nation's highest civilian honor.

On November 24th, James Taylor will join a host of other artists, activists, musicians, and more in receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The award is given is people "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."

And how does James Taylor feel about this distinguished honor?

He says he's a little overwhelmed.

“I’m actually just a bit gobsmacked,” the singer-songwriter told Here & Now’s Indira Laskhmanan. “I’m a little overwhelmed… It has been an amazing ride.”

In the same interview with NPR, Taylor says he will play as long as the people want to see him.

“When you’re given these kind of laurels, there’s maybe a suggestion that it’s time to rest on them. But in fact, I have this second family of musicians that I play with, that I travel with. You know, I love these guys – I love traveling with them and working with them. So I’m hoping that I can continue for a while, as long as the audiences show up. I’m looking forward to a tour starting this next April. I’ll be out on the road for a while, and I’m glad for that.”

Others receiving the award with Taylor include Gloria Estefan, Yogi Berra (posthumous), Bonnie Carroll, Shirley Chisholm (posthumous), Billy Frank, Jr. (posthumous), Lee Hamilton, Katherine G. Johnson, Willie Mays, Barbara Mikulski, Itzhak Perlman, William Rickelshaus, Stephen Sondheim, Steven Spielberg, Barbara Streisand, and Minoru Yasui (posthumous).

“I look forward to presenting these 17 distinguished Americans with our nation’s highest civilian honor. From public servants who helped us meet defining challenges of our time to artists who expanded our imaginations, from leaders who have made our union more perfect to athletes who have inspired millions of fans, these men and women have enriched our lives and helped define our shared experience as Americans," said President Obama in a statement.