- The Washington Times - Friday, June 21, 2002

President Bush yesterday announced the recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, a list that includes two writers, three entertainers, an athlete and a former first lady.

Among the dozen to receive the nation's highest civilian honor is A.M. Rosenthal, a Pulitzer Prize winner for foreign correspondence who became the executive editor of the New York Times. He writes a weekly column now for The Washington Times.

"Believe me, it never occurred to me that I would be given a medal by the president or anyone else," Mr. Rosenthal said in a telephone interview last night. The White House praised Mr. Rosenthal's efforts "to highlight the suffering of oppressed people, especially religious minorities."

Mr. Rosenthal, who began in newspapers in the 1940s, traveled the world as a foreign correspondent. In 1960, he won the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting from Poland. He served a stint in India before returning to New York to become the top editor at the New York Times. The other recipients, all of whom will receive their medals in a White House ceremony in July, are:

•Nancy Reagan, wife of former President Ronald Reagan, for her long anti-drug work as first lady and her continued work against drug and alcohol abuse through the Nancy Reagan Foundation.

•Nelson Mandela, who led the fight to end apartheid in South Africa over the course of his 57-year public life. Mr. Mandela was imprisoned by the South African government in 1962 and was released on Feb. 11, 1990. After his release, Mr. Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and inaugurated as the first democratically elected president of South Africa on May 10, 1994.

•Katharine Graham, who led The Washington Post until 1993 and, the White House said, "was known as an editor who maintained excellence by supporting her reporters and encouraging those who worked for her." She was chairman of the Post, but actually never held an editing position.

•Hank Aaron, who holds the career records for home runs, at 755. Mr. Aaron, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982, played first on an old Negro League team and, the White House said, "was undeterred in his pursuit of excellence by frequent encounters with racism throughout his career."

•Bill Cosby, a one-time stand-up comedian and one of the most popular television performers of the 1980s with "The Cosby Show," which revolutionized the portrayal of blacks on television. "Throughout his career," the White House said, "Dr. Cosby has appealed to the common humanity of his audience, rather than the differences that might divide it."

•Placido Domingo, a renowned opera singer, conductor and arts administrator over his 44-year career. "He was blessed with an unusually flexible voice, which has allowed him to perform in 118 different roles, more than any other tenor in the annals of opera performance," the White House said.

•Fred Rogers, host of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" for over three decades, making the show the longest-running program in the history of public broadcasting. "All of his work has been emblematic of the same philosophy and goal: to encourage the healthy emotional growth of children and their families," the White House said.

•Peter Drucker, a prominent pioneer of management theory. "Dr. Drucker has championed concepts such as privatization, management by objective and decentralization" and is "currently applying his expertise to the management of faith-based organizations," the White House said.

•Dr. D.A. Henderson, best known for his leadership of the World Health Organization's global smallpox-eradication campaign from 1966 to 1977. "He was also instrumental in initiating the WHO's global program of immunization which now vaccinates approximately 80 percent of the world's children against six major diseases," the White House said.

•Irving Kristol, author, editor and professor. "Mr. Kristol's writings helped lay the intellectual groundwork for the renaissance of conservative ideas in the last half of the 20th century. His approach adapted traditional conservative thought with contemporary societal issues and became the framework for compassionate conservatism," the White House said.

•Gordon Moore, co-founder of the Intel Corp. who directed the company's growth as the most successful developer of the microchip. In November 2000, Mr. Moore and his wife established the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation with a multibillion-dollar contribution, funding projects in higher education, scientific research, the environment and San Francisco Bay Area projects.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom was established by President Truman in 1945 to recognize civilians for their service during World War II, and it was reinstated by President Kennedy in 1963 to honor distinguished service. It is the nation's highest civilian award.

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