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Why Denzel Washington skipped Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony

Why Denzel Washington skipped Presidential Medal of Freedom

Actor Denzel Washington, on Thursday, failed to appear for the Presidential Medal of Freedom Ceremony.

He was nowhere to be seen at the at the White House venue of the ceremony despite being one of the handful of accomplished and influential figures invited each year to receive the award, touted as the nation’s highest civilian honor.

He missed the ceremony Thursday due to a COVID diagnosis, according to ET in a report that explained the 67-year-old actor’s absence.

President Joseph R. Biden in a nod to the “Pelican Brief” star, said “The man who couldn’t be here today, but wanted to be: Denzel Washington. One of our greatest actors in American history. Academy Awards, Golden Globes, Tony Awards, wide acclaim and admiration from audiences and peers around the world,”

“He couldn’t be here today, but I’ll be giving him this award at a later date when he’s able to get here,” the president added.

Among the other living honorees awarded the Medal of Freedom in 2022 were four-time Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Simone Biles, 25, former congresswoman and gun-safety advocate Gabrielle Giffords, 52, preacher and civil rights attorney Fred Gray, 91, and constitutional rights advocate and Gold Star father Khizr Khan, 72.

Posthumous awardees included John McCain, Steve Jobs and labor leader Richard Trumpka.

At the top of his address to the audience at the ceremony, Biden reflected on the significance of the occasion: “On Monday, we celebrated the independence of our nation, a nation always a work in progress in creation of possibilities, the fulfillment of promises. That’s the American story. It’s not a simple one. It’s never been a simple one, but the Fourth of July week reminds us what brought us together long ago and still binds us, binds us at our best.

“We strive for … we, the people, doing what we can to ensure the idea of America, a cause of freedom shines like the sun to light up the future of the world. That’s the soul of our nation,” he continued.

“That’s who we are as Americans. And that’s what we see, an extraordinary, extraordinary group of Americans … that I have the honor to recognize today.”


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